How do trees affect service to BGE customers?
Trees growing under or adjacent to overhead lines can interfere with BGE’s
electric distribution and transmission systems. Power outages can be caused by
broken branches and fallen trees that come into contact with electric wires.
Broken branches and fallen trees can also cause power lines to fall or possibly
knock down utility poles, causing considerable damage and significant power
outages. Overgrown trees near power lines also prevent BGE crews from repairing
equipment quickly, and delay the process of restoring power to customers.
Further, disruption to electric transmission systems could provide significant
impacts to large numbers of area residents and to regional power supplies. Trees
that grow on or above gas pipelines, have the ability to interfere with
ground-based leak and corrosion surveys and to inhibit effective aerial surveys
for leaks and property encroachments.
What is included in the PSC's RM 43 Regulation?
The RM 43 regulation includes reliability and service quality standards intended
to enhance performance across a broad spectrum of programs managed by Maryland’s
utilities. Tree and vegetation management practices are a large component of
Will BGE's tree and vegetation management practices change?
In most cases, the company’s existing tree and vegetation management practices
meet or exceed the expectations outlined in the PSC’s standards; however, BGE
will modify and enhance some elements of our current tree and vegetation
management practices to align with new tree and vegetation management standards
and the higher reliability performance targets required by the PSC. Consistent
with the company’s current customer communication policies and RM43, BGE will
reach out to customers in advance of any work being performed on their property.
How will I be affected by these changes?
The PSC’s RM43 tree and vegetation management standards strive to uniformly
provide more space between trees and power lines to help ensure electric
reliability by limiting the tree’s potential to come in contact with the power
line. As BGE works to enhance our tree and vegetation management efforts in
accordance with the PSC’s RM 43 standards, trees that BGE may have allowed to
previously coexist with distribution power lines may now need to be pruned or,
in some cases, removed. Additionally, BGE will conduct more comprehensive tree
and vegetation management along its overhead lines located close to the
company’s electrical substations – important facilities that manage the delivery
of power from generating plants to customer homes and neighborhoods. The PSC’s
standards specify that BGE and other Maryland utilities remove all overhanging
limbs from the substation to what is known as the first “protective electrical
device” that is set away from the substation. These protective devices are used
to minimize the effect of power interruptions, similar to the circuit breakers
in your residence. In some cases, BGE may extend beyond these devices if the
community’s electric reliability will benefit from the effort. In these cases,
BGE employees and contractors will work with individual customers to address
concerns and questions.
I live near a transmission line – will I be affected by RM 43?
In recent years, BGE increased its already robust tree and vegetation management
efforts around transmission lines to further limit any potential for
vegetation-related power outages. Because of this aggressive initiative, the
impact to the vegetation along BGE’s transmission system resulting from RM 43
will be limited.
Can I prune or remove trees on my property near power lines?
If you plan on doing work within 10 feet of distribution power lines, you are
required by law to contact BGE so that a BGE representative can assess the
situation for adherence to proper safe work practices
Does BGE need my permission to prune or remove trees?
BGE performs the work on BGE-owned property or on easements granted to them that
provide the necessary authority to manage the vegetation. While customer
permission is not required, BGE believes in working with customers to notify and
inform them about the necessary work. BGE representatives will do their best to
work with you and without compromising the safety and reliability of our
electric and gas systems
How often does BGE manage vegetation in my area?
Trees that are close to power lines are maintained on a four or five year cycle,
depending on the line voltage. These trees may be pruned or removed so that
adequate clearance can be achieved between the tree and the overhead lines
between cycles. However, BGE only prunes trees along loop lines – (power lines
that run from distribution lines to your house) when they are experiencing
strain or abrasion from the limbs.
Are BGE’s vegetation management crews trained professionals?
Vegetation management and tree work in particular, are inherently dangerous
activities. Coupled with the hazards associated with working around energized
conductors, it is important that qualified professionals are used to perform the
work. Accordingly, BGE hires licensed contractors who are trained as line
clearance workers to safely and efficiently remove problem trees and branches
that would interfere with power lines, while minimizing impacts to tree health.
Additionally, BGE has a professional staff of Maryland Licensed Foresters and
International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists that monitor the work
of the contractors.
How does BGE select which trees are to be removed and which trees are to be
BGE removes trees that grow within a transmission corridor in order to establish
a sustainable vegetation community of grasses and other low-growing vegetation
in accordance with national standards. Healthy trees that are situated outside
of the transmission corridor that have the capability of falling in proximity to
the lines are pruned, and in some cases, removed to protect the lines during the
five-year management cycle.
What recommendations do you have about planting trees near power lines?
If you wish to plant trees near distribution lines (wood pole lines that provide
power to your neighborhood), plant trees with mature heights that do not exceed
25 feet. Trees planted away from the power lines should not have mature heights
that will allow them to hit the power lines if they were to fall. If you wish to
plant near transmission lines you will need to contact BGE prior to planting.
BGE supports the establishment of naturally occurring, low-growing vegetation on
transmission rights-of-way. Accordingly, tree planting on transmission
rights-of-way is a restricted practice and is discouraged by BGE. Learn how to
select the right tree for the right place by visiting www.bge.com.
Does BGE dispose of branches and wood after they have pruned or removed my
During routine maintenance, small branches (8” diameter or smaller) are normally
chipped and removed from the property. Branches larger than 8” are cut and left
for the property owner. When nature causes trees to interfere with the overhead
wires and disrupt your electric service, the trees or tree parts are removed
from the wires to enable electric service to be restored as quickly as possible.
Service restoration workers will deposit this material on the ground as close as
possible to where the material would have naturally fallen had the wires not
been there to enable them to quickly complete their work and move on to the next
work location. The final disposition of this material will be the responsibility
of the property and/or tree owner.
Is pruning dangerous to the health of my trees?
BGE follows industry best practices (American National Standards Institute
A-300) for tree work along our transmission corridors. For most trees, pruning
simply reduces the volume of foliage and the health of the tree is unaffected.
However, some trees need to be heavily pruned in order to achieve the necessary
clearance from power lines. In these instances, the tree’s health could be
compromised. Therefore, removing the tree may be the best option. For more
information about proper pruning standards, please visit bge.com,
Does BGE manage trees and other vegetation around natural gas transmission
Yes. Continued safe operations of natural gas pipelines require regular
inspections and a clear, easily accessible right of way above the pipeline. In
compliance with federal requirements, inspections of our natural gas
transmission lines are conducted from the ground and air to allow BGE to look
for signs of leaks, corrosion, encroachments, missing pipeline markers and
construction activity near the pipeline. Adequate management of vegetation
growth along the transmission pipeline is necessary to ensure the safe operation
of the transmission pipeline system.
How are trees and other vegetation managed around natural gas transmission
BGE will clear vegetation
located within the right of way, up to 50 feet, which requires removing trees
and shrubs in the right of way, and tree limbs and canopy overhanging the right
of way. Trees that are rooted outside of this zone or even off of the right of
way, but which would require removal of more than 25 percent of their crowns
overhanging the right of way will be considered candidates for removal because
extensive pruning can create unhealthy, unstable trees. The final disposition of
these trees will be determined in consultation with the property owner. Before
work begins at each adjacent property, BGE will directly notify property