In Hawaii we are blessed with a wonderful abundance and variety of trees. From stately hard woods like Koa, to bountiful fruit bearers such as Banana and Citrus, to the graceful swaying of a Palm, trees add a lush, green beauty to our island home.
Trees are also effective conductors of electricity. When tree limbs grow into power lines they can cause an electrical outage or a potential safety hazard to anyone contacting the tree. And tree limbs not actually touching power lines can be blown onto the lines during windy conditions, also creating problems.
Vegetation management is one of many efforts Hawaiian Electric employs to help ensure the reliability of your electrical service. We regularly inspect trees growing near power lines and contract certified vegetation management crews to trim trees growing into power lines along roadways and throughout the island.
How Hawaiian Electric trims trees
Trees that require pruning are those that currently, or will within a year, encroach on high-voltage power lines. Tree inspectors assess the location of trees and their growth rate. In addition, we take into consideration limb configuration and potential wind conditions. If you believe that a tree poses a danger to lines, please call 543-7836 or email us at TrimRequest@heco.com to arrange an inspection.
After a thorough inspection, a qualified utility forester prescribes the amount and type of pruning necessary, based on:
• Tree growth and structure
• Wind sway
• Line sag
• Species of tree
• Environmental factors
• Proximity of the tree to a line and line configuration.
We will also always include a reasonable margin of safety above the absolute-minimum clearance requirements.
Tree trimming contractors and schedule
Hawaiian Electric currently contracts our vegetation management operations to the following companies: Asplundh Tree Expert Co., The Davey Tree Surgery Company, Trees of Hawaii, Inc., and Vegetation Control Service, Inc. Our contractor’s have their respective company logos on all of their vehicles. Please contact us at 543-7836 if you are not sure if a tree trimming company is performing work on behalf of Hawaiian Electric.
For more information about our contractors and a schedule for the coming months, click here.
Do your part
It is your responsibility to inspect and, if necessary, hire certified tree trimmers to trim trees on your property that are in contact with or in close proximity to the service line that delivers power to your property. Damage to the service line caused by your trees and damage to equipment in your home caused by trees affecting your service line are also your responsibility.
Only professionally trained and certified individuals should trim trees that are touching or in close proximity to power lines. Upon request, Hawaiian Electric staff can assist by de-energizing and lowering your service line. For your safety please call us at 543-7836 before conducting any kind of work on trees that are near overhead lines. We will inspect the lines and will help determine the best course of action.
When working on trees that are near power lines, a ten-foot minimum clearance from the lines is required for safety (OSHA 1910.269). When setting up ladders and other equipment, everything should be secured so that nothing is in or can accidentally enter this safety zone.
For tips on proper tree selection, care, and trimming and their answers click here. For more frequently asked questions about the Hawaiian Electric Vegetation Management program and their answers, click here.