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Routine Maintenance Improves Reliability

Trees and other vegetation are key contributors to approximately 20-30% of all electric service interruptions. Preventive pruning helps keep trees and power lines a safe distance apart. Areas where line clearance work is completed experience fewer outages and a significant improvement in electric reliability.

Our vegetation management crews are trained in proper arboricultural pruning techniques and practices, which are in accordance with the performance standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These techniques and practices take into account the species and location of the tree in relation to the overhead wires as well as the overall health of the tree.

Upon completion of scheduled, routine vegetation management work, our contractors will remove the debris that has accumulated as a result of routine work, unless specified by the customer. Delmarva Power does not grind stumps.

For work that occurs as a result of a storm or outside of scheduled vegetation management projects, Delmarva Power and its contractors are not responsible for removing debris. Once removed from our equipment, all storm debris will be left behind and are the responsibility of the property owner.

Safety First!

Pruning trees near power lines is dangerous. Delmarva Power’s contractors are specially trained to work in close proximity to electrical conductors. Please see Tree Pruning for additional information.

Transmission and Distribution Vegetation Maintenance

Delmarva Power maintains two distinct types of overhead electric facilities. Electric transmission rights-of-way contain facilities that carry power from power generation stations to substations; electric distribution easements contain facilities that carry power from substations to customers.

Pictured above is an example of an electric transmission facility.

Electric Distribution Vegetation Maintenance

Scheduled Maintenance

Delmarva Power performs routine tree and vegetation maintenance on regular cycles. These cycles are four years in length for distribution facilities.Delmarva Power also performs some off-cycle work where preventative maintenance is needed.

Standards and Pruning Technique

Delmarva Power performs pruning to provide clearance from the overhead facilities. This work is done in many cases to direct the tree growth away from the facilities and is often referenced as directional pruning.

The pruning clearances to which we hold our contractors are based on the growth rate and size and shape of each tree, the location of the tree in relation to the power line, the type of utility facility, and a cycle length of 4 years. These clearances are in accordance with the Maryland RM 43 mandated requirements.

Shown above, directional pruning guides the growth of the tree away from the wires.

Delmarva Power does not practice "topping” or “rounding over” of trees. That method can cause a flush of fast growing sprouts that grow directly back into the wires. To learn more about avoiding and reducing tree and utility conflicts, visit the International Society of Arboriculture and the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Electric Transmission Right-of-Way Maintenance

Powering lives begins with a journey that transports high-voltage electricity from power generation stations, to substations that "step down" the voltage to a level that can be distributed to your home.

Transmission rights-of-way (ROW) typically contain large steel poles or tower structures that are used to transport high-voltage electricity across large distances. In some instances these ROW may contain large wood poles or wood pole structures. Delmarva Power has the right by easement or fee ownership to perform vegetation management on and adjacent to transmission ROWs in our service territory. Where feasible or required, Delmarva Power uses a technique called integrated vegetation management to make sure that trees and other vegetation never cause an interruption to the system from within the ROW. Additionally, Delmarva Power also performs pruning on trees outside of the ROW to minimize the likelihood of trees falling onto or near these critical facilities

Federal Mandates

Federal standards mandate that utilities have a transmission vegetation management program to prevent widespread outages on the transmission system. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation ( strictly enforces these standards. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has specific guidelines and requirements that electric utilities must meet. Visit the FERC website for more information.

Acceptable Vegetation

Delmarva Power only allows shrubs and low-growing trees on its electric transmission rights-of-way. Delmarva does not prune trees to maintain them within electric transmission rights-of-way; incompatible growing trees and other vegetation are removed.

It is required that you contact Delmarva Power if you are considering planting any vegetation within an electric transmission right-of-way. Delmarva Power encourages the establishment of native prairie grasses and flowers in a ROW's Wire and Border Zones, and fosters plant species that support pollinator insects.

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