Vegetation Management NHEC is responsible for maintaining the “rights-of-way” where power lines are located. Trees and vegetation in close proximity to the electric system are the leading cause of power outages. To keep our electrical distribution system as safe and reliable as possible, we are continually maintaining the spaces occupied by our 5,500 miles of energized line. Learn more about our Vegetation Management programs below. Information and Resources See where NHEC Vegetation Management operations are happening. Right of Way Clearing Schedule Concerned about a questionable tree? Fill out the form and let us know. Questionable Tree Form Sometimes rights-of-way require the selective use of herbicide stump treatments. Herbicide & Stump Treatment Information Our Vegetation Management Program Vegetation Management NHEC’s Vegetation Management Department helps maintain our system reliability by trimming vegetation in close proximity to power lines. New Hampshire is one of the most forested states in the country and damage from falling trees and branches is by far the leading cause of power outages. With this in mind, NHEC uses an Integrated Vegetation Management Plan (IVMP) to reduce the risk to both reliability and safety. Integrated Vegetation Management Program Our IVMP is the way we maintain our right-of-way corridors where power lines are located. An IVMP consists of mechanical, chemical and cultural control measures to keep right-of-ways clear and reduce power outages. Chainsaws, mechanical mowers, bucket trucks, brush chippers and skidder buckets are the primary tools in our mechanical control efforts. These machines clear brush and dangerous trees from the right-or-way corridor and are the first step in our IVMP. Our IVMP is working all year to maintain a reliable electric system with fewer and shorter outages. It’s our goal to keep the lights on at your home or business. Right of Way Clearing A right-of-way is a corridor, or pathway, of land that NHEC’s electric lines follow. These rights–of-way provide a safety zone between our wires and trees, buildings, or other objects. When rights-of-way are kept clear they also provide safe access for our line crews to maintain, repair, or improve the lines and poles. We have a team of arborists and professional staff who work closely with the qualified tree contactors to maintain our rights-of-way and reduce power outages. In most locations around NHEC service territory, we have the right to clear trees and branches that are 15 feet either side of the pole, ground to sky. Healthy, established trees with enough clearance (15ft) may be pruned; trees without clearance will be removed. In all situations, trees near electric lines should be pruned or removed (not by the homeowner) before they actually touch the lines. It’s important that we have adequate clearance so the trees do not grow back near the lines before the next maintenance cycle. Service lines from the pole to property The service lines are the electric wires that run from the utility pole to a home or business. During scheduled vegetation clearing, NHEC tree contractors will remove only those branches that are in direct contact with NHEC service lines, and are causing chafing or mechanical strain on the line. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the service wire by keeping it clear of trees in-between NHEC’s trimming cycle. NHEC will not cut unless there is apparent wear, or hard contact deflecting on the service line causing mechanical strain. SAFETY NOTE: If you plan to perform tree work around your service line, NHEC will temporarily shut off power so that you can perform the work safely. There is a fee for this service. While performing tree work, stay at least 10 feet way from these energized lines, and do not attempt to cut trees or branches that are in direct contact with the lines. Clean Up Responsibilities Brush, branches, and woody debris from cutting along roadsides will be chipped. In all other areas brush will be moved to the edge of the rights-of-way, and windrowed, which are long, low piles that will be slashed or diced down. Roadside woodchips are blown back into the woods where appropriate. Windrows and woodchips are a natural recycling process. Wood/logs will remain on site in an organized manner. We do not remove wood. Stump removal will be the responsibility of the property owner. Cycle Re Clearing Our goal is to have a maintenance cycle of every 8 years for our service area. Our contractors work year round on our system. Specifications are 15 ft. each side of the PRIMARY line from the ground to a minimum of 20 ft. overhead clearance from the highest conductor on the pole. This includes all unacceptable vegetation within the corridor. Some right of way widths may be wider depending on the voltages of the line. What happens after a storm? In the event of a storm, our tree contractors work with our line crews to remove downed trees so that power can be restored safely and quickly. We do not perform cleanup of any wood and debris from the storm damage to our system. Homeowners are responsible for removing all broken and or damaged tress and limbs including those NHEC removes to expedite the restoration process. Hazard Tree Program Hazard trees show indication of imminent failure, and have the potential to damage the distribution system. NHEC has a Hazard Tree Program that identifies trees inside and outside of the 30-foot right-of-way (15 feet on either side of the line), and removes them if they are deemed a threat to fall on power lines. NHEC arborists are qualified in hazard tree evaluation. Member Notification Prior to conducting vegetation management work on an individual’s property, NHEC makes every reasonable effort to make contact by mail, or phone. We also make every reasonable effort to identify property owners at locations where there is not a metered service. Contact information will be provided if you have any questions. Where You Plant Matters Right Tree, Right Place If you’re planting trees anywhere near power lines (overhead and underground), you can help us keep the lights on and everyone safe by knowing what trees to plant and which to avoid. NHEC has the right and responsibility to remove trees, branches and vegetation that grow within the typical 30-foot wide power line right-of-way. This is our first line of defense against power outages and is critical for the safety of our lineworkers and the public. Acceptable Tree Species Acceptable Species for Planting near Power Lines Common Name Sun Requirements Special notes American Cranberry (VIBURNUM trilobum) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3, Cold Hardy native Viburnum option, great for screening or an informal hedge. Azalea (AZALEA) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zones 4-5, Variety of color options for flowers, fragrant flowers. Bayberry (MYRICA (MORELLA caroliniensis) pensylvanica) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3, Fragrant, Salt, and urban tolerant, cold hardy Blueberry (BLUEBERRY) Full Sun Zone 4-5, fruiting, variety of size options, readily available. Blue Point Juniper (JUNIPERUS chinensis ‘Blue Point’) Full sun Evergreen, Zone 4. Blue green in color, deer resistant year-round screening. Chokeberry (ARONIA) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3-4, Cold hardy and native options, good wetland option. Evergreen Holly (ILEX) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Evergreen, Zone 5. Most varieties are acceptable to be planted near the lines. Forsythia (FORSYTHIA) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3-4, Cold hardy, yellow spring flowers, deer resistant. Hydrangea (HYDRANGEA) Varies based on variety Zone 3-5, flowering, both tree form and shrub form options Laurel (KALMIA) Partial Sun/ Shade Zone 4, Many flowering varieties, wildlife attractant. Lilac (SYRINGA) Full Sun NH State Flower (Purple Lilac). Zone 3-4 Tree form and Shrub form options. Cold hardy. Mission Arborvitae (THUJA occidentalis ‘Techny’) Full Sun Evergreen, Zone 3. Great for year-round screening. Privet (LIGUSTRUM) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 4, Great for hedging, salt and urban tolerant. Rhododendron (RHOD) Sun/ Shade Evergreen, Zones 4-5, Many varieties out there in all different sizes and colors. Rose of Sharon (HIBISCUS moscheutos) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 5, Pink, White, or red flower options, Deer resistant. Smoke Bush (COTINUS coggygria) Full Sun Zone 4-5, Ornamental with showy foliage, and purple “smoke” flowers. Spirea (SPIREA) Sun/ Shade Zones 3-4, Variety of foliage and flower color options, drought tolerant. Summersweet (CLETHRA alnifolia) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3-4, fragrant flowers, cold hardy, and native options. Viburnum (VIBURNUM) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 4-5 Flowering, Fruiting, Some native options. Winterberry (ILEX verticillata ) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Zone 3, Cold Hardy, Tolerant of wet soil. Yew (TAXUS) Full Sun/ Partial Shade Evergreen, Zone 4. Drought, urban, and shade tolerant varieties available. For other options, please consult with an NHEC Arborist *Please plant with access to the poles and electrical hardware in mind. If plants are impeding access to poles or electrical hardware, they are subject to removal regardless of whether they are on the acceptable species list above. Please remember that today’s small sapling could cause tomorrow’s power outage, so please consult the list of acceptable tree species below BEFORE you plant near power lines. Our NHEC Utility Arborists are also happy to help. Call them at 1-800-698-2007. NOTE: when planting near underground power lines, always call DigSafe at 811 so your utility companies can mark any underground lines. DigSafe is free and it’s the law.