Thursday, 13 August 2020

PG&E reminds loggers to look up and practice safe tree felling

NORTH COAST, Calif. – It’s logging season along the North Coast, and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reminds its customers to use extreme caution when pruning trees near high voltage power lines.

There have been recent tree felling incidents in Mendocino and Humboldt counties that resulted in power outages and damage to electrical equipment.

Luckily, there were no injuries, but inappropriate and unsafe tree cutting by third parties is 100-percent avoidable.

“The safety of our customers, crews, and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, so we want everyone to avoid injuries. Whether you’re a licensed logger, harvest plan owner, land owner or you just need to cut down a tree, if there’s a power line nearby we encourage you to call us at 1-800-743-5000,” said Carl Schoenhofer, senior manager for PG&E’s Humboldt and North Valley Divisions.

Pruning trees close to power lines can be dangerous. Unqualified tree workers put their lives in jeopardy without specialized training and the proper insulated tools required to work near high-voltage power lines.

PG&E offers the following safety tips for customers and third-party contractors:

– Assume all power lines are energized and extremely dangerous, including the service drop that runs from utility poles to buildings or homes. Death or injury can result from contact with lines, even with these lower voltage lines. This type of work should only be performed by properly qualified and trained tree workers.

– Never cut or remove trees that are within 10 feet of high-voltage power lines. It is unlawful to work within 10 feet of a distribution or transmission line and Cal/OSHA requires a minimum of 10 feet clearance between workers, equipment and high voltage power lines at all times.

– Avoid touching trees that are in contact with power lines. Injury, shock or death may result. Trees in contact with power lines are grounded to the earth making them an excellent pathway for electricity to travel.

– Never touch fallen power lines or approach them. The ground they touch may be energized. Stay away and call 911 and then report fallen or downed lines immediately to PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

PG&E works every day to prune trees growing near power lines to reduce fire hazards, ensure public safety and provide uninterrupted electrical service. If there is ever a question of trees that you believe are growing too close to power lines, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 for assistance.

If residents or businesses call 1-800-PGE-5000 before work begins, PG&E will ensure it is safe to fell a tree in that area or, in certain instances, the company may be able to cut it down for them.

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