Trees, Safety and Electric Reliability

Idaho Power prunes trees to keep them away from our power lines, improving the safety and reliability of the energy we deliver. Trees and limbs that contact power lines can cause outages and hazards to homes, motorists, pedestrians, children climbing trees and our linemen.

Pruning helps prevent dangerous accidents and is a valuable community service. Idaho Power has been recognized for decades for our line clearing work by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree Line USA Utility award commends the company for caring for the health of trees while removing branches and limbs growing too close to power lines.

Line Clearing 101

Idaho Power hires qualified line-clearing contractors to keep trees away from our power lines. These crews establish necessary line clearances while considering each tree’s species, size and natural shape.

We clear the trees along our lines on a regular maintenance cycle. The shape, size and growth rate of trees affect how often they need pruning. Generally, our crews prune to create clearance to last for at least three years and to avoid problems from snow overloading branches in winter.

examples of different types of tree trimming

Our contractors use a procedure called directional, or natural, pruning. Directional pruning allows us to train the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only the branches that might contact the lines. By selectively pruning the tree’s branches instead of pruning the entire top, much of the tree’s natural form is retained. This practice is better for the health of the trees. It is also more cost effective because it doesn’t have to be done as frequently.

The U.S. Forest Service and International Society of Arboriculture recommend directional pruning.

Line Clearing for Safety

Idaho Power clears lines to help protect you. Falling trees and tree limbs can cause power lines to break or sag to the ground, in some cases causing hazards to motorists and pedestrians. Trees that touch lines can become a risk for people near the tree. We also want to protect our line crews, who often are exposed to dangerous situations when they are called out to repair tree-related outages during stormy weather.

Never attempt to prune a tree near our lines yourself. If you have a tree near one of our lines that you think needs to be pruned or removed, or if you notice a tree interfering with power lines, contact us online or call 208-388-2323 or 1-800-488-6151.

Did you know?

Attaching material, including signs and plants, to power poles is dangerous and illegal (Idaho Code 18-7029 and 18-7031; Oregon Code 164-365). These materials make it hard for us to access poles and power lines if there’s a problem, and they can interfere with energy service.

Removing Trees

Sometimes it’s necessary to remove a tree that has become a hazard to the public or the energy system. If trees are classified as hazardous, Idaho Power will remove them and discuss replacement options with the property owner. Customers may plant a new tree in the same spot only if they select low-growing, or Class I, trees. Class I trees grow to a maximum height of 25 feet.

Wood larger than four inches in diameter will be cut into manageable sizes for the property owner and left behind. Small pieces of wood and branches are chipped at the job site and hauled away or left behind at the owner’s request.

Related Information

For assistance with a PDF on this page or to request a PDF in an alternate format, please contact Customer Service at 208-388-2323 or 1-800-488-6151