LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative


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Why, When, How

Why, When, How

LCEC performs year-round vegetation management for electric safety & reliability. Our vegetation management programs help to prevent contact between tree limbs and electric facilities which can cause power outages and unsafe conditions. Trees without the proper clearance can contact power lines during high winds or storms causing outages, fires and safety hazards.

LCEC does not prune trees around streetlights unless there is a threat to reliability. LCEC will maintain the area around streetlight lines only if damage is imminent to LCEC facilities and there is a threat to reliability of electric service or safety.  Customers are responsible to trim vegetation around lighting equipment as needed.  Contact a qualified tree care professional or set up an appointment with LCEC to roll back the electrical line for safety purposes.

Scheduled Vegetation Maintenance Program

LCEC electric circuit clearing is maintained on pre-determined pruning cycles year-round.  During this work, our certified line-clearance contractors notify residents in advance of any clearing scheduled to be performed on customer property. LCEC contractors are instructed to systematically follow national standards for tree care, which include directional pruning techniques and clearances designed to maximize safety and reliability goals.

Off-Cycle Maintenance

LCEC has additional programs to address vegetation that grows faster than maintenance cycles can manage. These programs address vegetation that may pose a risk to public safety or electric service reliability. Vegetation on customer property that may be a cause for concern can be evaluated through a free site visit by LCEC experts. Please contact LCEC to schedule a visit to determine the best course of action for the vegetation in question. If work is assigned, this service will be performed by at no cost by qualified LCEC line clearance contractors.

Where We Maintain Vegetation

LCEC is responsible for caring for trees or vegetation contacting or having the potential to cause an outage on primary electric lines. Primary lines are the distribution or transmission lines that lead from the substation to the secondary lines that feed homes and businesses.

LCEC does not prune trees in commercial groves. Customers are responsible for pruning vegetation around service drops, where low-voltage lines serve just one customer. For non-essential private pruning around low-voltage lines such as service drops, streetlight wires, and secondary lines, LCEC can schedule an appointment to deenergize or disconnect these lines while tree care is performed safely around them.

Often, there are other utility lines such as cable television or telephone lines located below the electric lines on a pole. LCEC does not maintain these lines.

Be Tree Wise – Care for trees safely

Customers should never attempt to prune vegetation near electrical wires or remove branches that are touching power lines. Tree care near power lines is dangerous and may cause serious injury or death. Touching or contacting a power line with body parts, tools, or trimmings may cause a powerful electric shock. During tree care, all tools, body, and tree parts must remain a minimum of 10 feet away from energized lines. Only qualified line clearance arborists may work within 10 feet of energized lines. Contract your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of reputable contractors.

Always contact LCEC before performing or contracting tree work near our electric lines.  When trees are within 10 feet of primary lines, we can schedule safe clearing in advance of tree care.

Please submit a Tree Trimming Request Form for a free site visit to assess and determine the best course of action for your tree and line conflicts.

Notification

LCEC makes every effort to notify customers through personal contact, letter, or by leaving a door hanger at the location prior to vegetation maintenance activities. However, this is not always possible for routine pruning. In the case of restoring power due to a tree-related outage or when a potential safety hazard exists, time is critical and crews may prune or remove a tree before notifying the property owner.

Clearances

All trees are cared for according to American National Standards Institute A300, utilizing directional pruning techniques. Palm trees with fronds that are contacting the primary line require removal. Trees located within the utility easement at new electric facility construction sites require removal if it is determined they will grow to a height that will interfere with the primary line.

Pad-mount Transformer for Underground Equipment Clearances

Plants that block ground transformers and pedestals interfere with LCEC’s ability to service equipment and restore power. These transformers require an 8-foot space in front of the door and 3-feet on each side of the enclosure. Customers are responsible for maintaining these clearances.

Pad-mount Transformer for Underground Equipment Clearances

How We Prune

In order to maintain the electric system and keep equipment operating safely, trees near electric facilities and power lines are routinely cared for on a regular cycle or removed.

LCEC adheres to the American National Standards Institute A300 standards for pruning. These are the generally accepted industry standards for tree care. The ANSI A300 standards evolved from the National Arborist Association (NAA) standards and are supported by the Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association. These standards provide detailed guidelines for lateral and directional pruning to ensure reliability and safety and protect the health of the tree.

Directional or Lateral Pruning
This is a professional technique of pruning trees around power lines and directing the future growth of the tree away from the lines. Branches and limbs are removed up to the main trunk, juncture of the trunk or a major limb of the tree. This is the location a tree would most likely lose a branch under natural conditions. Re-growth tends to grow away from the power lines. This method does not impede the natural defense system of a tree, which allows it to fight decay, disease and insects.

Directional or Lateral Pruning

Tree Removal

LCEC recognizes the vital role that trees play in our environment and urban landscape. The removal of tall-growing trees within a utility easement often increases safety and reliability.

LCEC has an active tree removal program that targets fast-growing trees and palms that are difficult to manage between maintenance cycles. Trees or palms growing around our primary distribution lines can be considered for removal. Please submit a Tree Trimming Request Form for a free site visit to discuss removal options.

Transmission Lines
LCEC attempts to remove all tall-growing vegetation within the right-of-way. We work with customers to ensure that impact to their property is minimized.

Distribution Lines
LCEC qualified line clearance contractors typically care for trees directly under the distribution lines; however, there are instances when the removal of trees is beneficial. If there is a tree under or near electric lines on your property that you would like to have removed please submit a Tree Trimming Request Form. LCEC inspectors will assess the tree to determine if it is a candidate for removal.

Palms

Palms are synonymous with Southwest Florida’s natural and landscaped environments. They define our region and attract visitors and residents to our sub-tropical climate. Yet, palms and power lines are incompatible.

Palms cause over 50 percent of vegetation-caused power outages at LCEC. They cannot be directionally pruned or reduced in height. Palm fronds may contact or drop onto high voltage power lines and cause service interruptions. For safe and reliable electric service, the best solution for palms near power lines is removal.

Palms should never be planted under or adjacent to power lines. Palm fronds can mature to between five and fifteen feet long and regularly detach from the trunk. Tall-growing palms should never be planted within 25 feet of existing power lines.

Homeowners should never attempt to prune or hire contractors to care for or remove palms with trunks or fronds within 10 Feet of energized power lines. Only qualified line clearance arborists may work within 10 feet of energized lines.

Customers with palms growing near our power lines on their property, are encouraged to submit a Tree Trimming Request Form. LCEC inspectors will assess the tree to determine if it is a candidate for removal. We may prune them safely away from our lines or remove them at no cost to the customer.

Debris Removal

LCEC tree care contractors typically remove debris within 24 hours on maintenance-related work. However, crews do not remove debris during restoration efforts after a storm or in emergency situations.

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