Trees are a large part of the natural beauty of the Oregon Coast. There are literally millions of trees in our 700-square-mile service area. And as beautiful as these trees are, they do present potential problems.
So when you see our crews out there trimming trees, please remember that we’re doing it so our customers can have more reliable electric service.
About half of the unscheduled power outages that occur in our District are the result of trees coming into contact with power lines. Sometimes a tree will drop a limb onto a power line. Sometimes a tree will fall onto a power line. Sometimes the wind will push a tree into power lines.
We have full-time tree crews that work year-round to trim trees around our lines. We try to trim around every set of lines every five years, but nature does an excellent job generating new tree growth, and tree management keeps our crews very busy.
Why not underground all of our lines? There are a number of problems with underground power lines, not the least of which is cost. It costs about four to five times as much to install lines underground. Lines that are under ground do fail, quite often for the same reason as above-ground lines. Trees spread out under underground lines the same way they do above ground, and their root systems can cause enormous damage to underground utility systems. There’s also a lot of geologic instability in our coastal area that makes under-grounding impractical in many areas.
Your Help Is Important
When it comes to planting near power lines, help prevent tree problems by planting wisely. Check with your local nursery or arborist to find out which type of tree will grow best in your neighborhood, and how big a new tree is likely to grow. The chart at right offers some guidelines about how far from power lines different trees should be planted.