Tree trimming and risk tree mitigation FAQs
Received a notice about tree trimming or risk tree mitigation? See it happening in your neighborhood? We're ready to answer your questions.
How Avista notifies you about tree trimming and risk tree mitigation work, and why
- In yards: Whey they're too big or fast growing to maintain under power lines.
- When trees further than 10’ from our lines with limbs encroaching the 10’: Avista will trim. Homeowners are responsible for hiring a contractor to finish and clean up.
- Along roadsides, county and state right-of-ways, unmaintained areas, and right-of-way corridors: when smaller, tall growing trees that are within 10-15 feet either side of the wire near wire height.
- Avista's risk tree mitigation program identifies and fells visibly dead, diseased, dying, or unstable trees near power lines. This work is necessary to ensure reliable service, maintain safety, and reduce the possibility of wildfires from risk trees coming into contact with power lines. No clean-up is provided under this program.
- In preliminary stages, when our contract partners Consulting Utility Foresters (CNUC) begin identifying areas of work to be done: Automated voice messaging.
- For customer properties: by postcard.
- If you have questions or concerns about tree trimming in your area, please call the Avista Call Center at (800) 227-9187.
- Contract tree crews usually start within 2-3 weeks after the postcard is sent and may be in your area for several months to complete the necessary work.
- Avista uses CNUC as our contract consulting foresters.
- CNUC employees drive small white pickups, and each CNUC employee has an Avista ID badge.
- Avista uses Asplundh Tree Expert Co. for our contract line clearance crews.
- Asplundh employees drive orange or white full size pickups or large dump box type trucks.
- All contractor vehicles should have a visible decal indicating that they are “under contract to Avista”.
- As a courtesy, all contract employees have been instructed to attempt customer contact at the time of work by knocking on the customer’s door.
- Being proactive reduces the frequency and duration of tree-related outages, and preserves the safety of our customers, their property and our line service crews working in the field.
- Contractors trim primary and secondary facilities. You may notice other lines attached to the pole that are not cleared for. These may be telephone, cable TV, and other telecommunication companies.
- We do not trim for your service line.
- If you would like to trim for this wire we can temporarily remove the wires from the house(s) in order for you or your contractor to do the necessary work. Please contact the Avista Call Center 72 hours in advance (during normal business hours) to make arrangements for this at (800) 227-9187.
- State and federal laws regulate tree maintenance. Avista does not interpret these laws for our customers or private contractors.
- Laws and regulations include ANSI Z133.1, OSHA 1910, WAC 296-45 and Idaho’s Overhead Line Safety Act.
- Avista enters into formal agreements with certified power line clearance contractors to trim trees and clear rights of way corridors throughout our service territory to ensure the safety, reliability and integrity of our electric and high pressure gas pipeline facilities.
- Contract tree crews are supervised by International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists who have the skill and knowledge to make the proper cuts on the tree.
- Certified Arborists use proper tree pruning techniques recommended by the ISA Best Management Practices Manuals.
- Contractors trim trees away from electrical wires using directional pruning techniques recommended by the ISA and the American National Standards Institute ANSI A300 – Utility Pruning Standards.
- Directional pruning concentrates on removing limbs back to a lateral branch. This technique reduces how quickly a tree grows back and directs growth away from power lines. It also retains as much of the natural tree crown as possible for photosynthesis.
- Pruning trees for line clearance does not always improve their appearance, but directional pruning methods are healthier than older obsolete “topping” or “shaping” trimming methods.
- Call the Avista Call Center at (800) 227-9187 to schedule a site visit by a CNUC consulting forester.
- Customers MAY talk to the crew Foreman (white hard hat) if on site (or nearby) and ask the Foreman to skip the customer’s tree(s) until a site visit with a consulting forester can be arranged.
- Please stay well outside the crew’s work zone for your own safety.
- Please call the Avista Call Center at (800) 227-9187 to leave your location and contact information. You will be placed on the "wood chip delivery list". Chips will be delivered when crews are working in your neighborhood. Tree Crew Foreman will call to confirm your request prior to delivery of any chips.
- The wood chips are available only while the tree crews are in your area. The minimum delivered load is 8 cubic yards.
- They are not high grade landscape material but are excellent as mulch and weed control and may be used for playgrounds and walking trails.
- No. As part of Avista’s regular tree maintenance program, we will trim trees within 10 feet of a power line. In such cases, the tree work and cleanup of debris is at no cost to the customer. In yards, Avista may also remove trees within 10 feet of a power line on a case by case basis, and will contact the property owner regarding these potential removals.
- Only plant tree species that mature at 20’ or less near power lines.
- For more information, view a list of power line compatible trees, or please call the Avista Call Center at (800) 227-9187 with your questions or concerns.
- For more species selection good sources of information are the Spokane Urban Forestry approved street tree list, County Extension Offices, City Parks Department, certified arborists, and reputable plant nurseries.
- If planting in city strips there may be ordinances over species selection.
- Anyone (other than the property owner) wanting wood left behind from line clearance maintenance must ask the property owner for permission, not Avista or Asplundh contract crews.
Clean up and maintenance or risk tree mitigation work
- Avista's routine tree maintenance near overhead power lines in urban areas includes chipping of all trimmed branches. Wood that is too large for the chipper is piled and left for the tree owner.
- Risk tree mitigation work is not routine tree maintenance, so clean up is not provided as part of the work.
- Clean up of debris from trees or branches downed during a storm is the responsibility of the homeowner. A commercial tree service can do necessary cleanup or customers doing the work themselves can take the debris to the Clean Green site at their local recycling center.
- Avista does not clean up wood and brush when the homeowner requests the work.
- Tree information and tips on how to hire an arborist can be found at www.pnwisa.org, the web site for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and at www.isa-arbor.com, the web site for the International Society of Arboriculture. Also, County Extension Offices and City Parks Departments are good local sources of tree information.