Line Disconnect Protocol

Safety Around Electrical Wires Should Be a Priority

Tree work should not be performed around power lines without the proper precautions.   Electricity is a silent killer.  Nationally, an average of one electrocution fatality per week occurs due to contact with electric lines.  In addition, if an electric line is shorted-out or arcs, it can quickly ignite a house, tree, or anything else that will burn from the intense power surge.  For these reasons, RTEC Treecare has developed an Electric Line Disconnect (ELD) Protocol.

This protocol will ensure an additional level of protection for your property, the general public, and the workers. Below are Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the ELD Protocol.

RTEC Treecare adheres to the Federal Government’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and utility company’s regulations while working in tree(s) within close proximity to the power lines.

1. Why do you get the power company involved?

There are laws and regulations set forth by OSHA and ANSI Z133-2012 (Safety Requirements for Arboricultural Operations) that prohibit working within 10 feet of any energized line or conductor. For more information on OSHA’s regulations visit:

2.  What coordinations needs to be done?

Coordination with the power company may include: making arrangements for disconnecting/reconnecting of power line, de-energizing, insulating the line, providing clearance pruning to provide safe clearance from power lines and extra time involved working near or within power lines. Your arborist will discuss the details on what needs to be done for your tree care project during your consultation. If the tree(s) interferes with a main line (pole-to-pole connection servicing multiple homes), line clearance will be provided by the utility company.

3.   Why do you charge?

RTEC assesses a fee for the additional time and effort required to coordinate the service being performed, and the required action needed by the utility.  This may include additional sites visits by the Arborist, extra production time necessary to perform work near or within power lines, and unapplied production time waiting for power company crews to perform their work.

4.   Can you do the work without it?

No, due to Federal and State regulations there must be a line drop, de-energize or line clearance coordinated with power company any time a worker or climbing arborist cannot maintain the 10-foot clearance with their body or tools or any branches or sections of the tree.

5.  Do I have to be home when the power company arrives?

It is not necessary for the homeowner to be home. RTEC Treecare will coordinate the power disconnect with the customer and the power company. If a line drop or de-energize is to be done, RTEC’s crew will be on your property when the power company’s crew arrives (a power company requirement). Line clearance pruning is done by the utility, to their established clearances. We do suggest turning off any appliances, computers and electrical equipment that may be damaged by a power surge prior to leaving for the day.

6.  When does the power to my home get restored?

Upon completion of the tree work, the RTEC crew will contact the power company to request that service be restored to your home. RTEC will obtain the confirmation number of this request from the power company and will email or call you with this information. This will allow you to know when the reconnect request was made.  It is customary to have power restored within three (3) hours of this request.  The time for reconnection can vary depending on the daily demands of the utility crews.  The power company does guarantee to restore power the same day. RTEC does not have control over exact times that power company drops and restores service to your home.

7.  How long does this all take?

The timing depends on the electric company’s availability. Your RTEC Arborist will keep you up to date during the entire process.  Line drop and de-energize services are coordinated for the same day that RTEC Treecare’s schedules a tree crew to work on your property. The power to your home is restored the same day.  Line clearance service is performed at the utility’s convenience, and upon their completion will be scheduled by RTEC.

8.  Do I have to call them to reconnect the lines?

RTEC will make the electric service reconnect request. We will provide you with the request number should you care to check on the timing of the reconnection.

9.  Why can’t I just have the power company clear my trees from the power line?

The power company and their utility crews are responsible for the clearance pruning of trees from primary electric distribution lines that usually serve hundreds or thousands of people. They will not provide pruning services on trees that are on private property if the electric line only serves one house.