IS THERE FREE
If you have a large tree on your property, it may be causing problems for your home. This can be in terms of blocking light, growing into your neighbor’s yard, or the roots may be damaging your underground pipe network. Either way, when it comes time to remove a tree, you can be liable to get a large bill. Hiring a tree cutting service can be expensive as you’re paying trained experts to safely and securely cut down and remove your tree.
However, while it may sound too good to be true, in some circumstances, there are ways you can have a tree removed from your property for free. Although it doesn’t apply in all cases, there are ways that you can contact the right people and have them take care of the tree for you at no cost to yourself.
This guide will walk you through the different options involved, and how you may be able to get your tree removed for free.
Tree contact with transmission lines is a major cause of electrical power outages. These power outages can have a major widespread impact. In August 2003, a tree caused a regional power outage that left 50 million people without power in the Northeastern United States and Canada. As such, power companies have a vested interest to remove potentially dangerous trees near their power lines. This is usually your best bet for getting a tree removed for free.
Power Companies’ Responsibilities
Power companies have very clear responsibilities when it comes to trees near the power lines. If a tree is within touching distance of an overhead power line, the company may cut it down for free. On top of this, electrical utility companies are responsible for trimming all trees near power lines. This is enshrined in the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), which is applicable in most states.
For more information on whether your state does or not, see the link (https://standards.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-standards/standards/web/documents/other/2017-nesc-state-adoption-reference-survey.pdf).
Once the weight of the trees becomes too much for the power lines – or the force is too great due to snow, ice, or storms, the tree falling will bring down the power line.
If the power line is on the ground, it usually knocks out the power to the area. On top of this, a live power line on the ground presents a major electrocution hazard.
The Law Governing Power Companies
Once the power company has assessed your tree, they will be governed by local and state laws as to the next course of action. Generally, however, most state governments have comprehensive laws on the statute compelling power companies to not only be reactive in fixing problems but proactive in anticipating and addressing problems before they occur.
Power companies are therefore legally obligated to ‘use reasonable means and inspection schedules to find deficiencies in their systems.’ This includes trees and branches.
The ‘Vegetation Management Rule’
Otherwise, you will need to show that the tree will continue to grow and present a risk to the power lines or the company will be under no legal obligation to remove it.
They can do this without the owners’ consent, so there’s really nothing you can do to prevent property companies from accessing the power lines. The implications of this when it comes to trees is fairly large. It means that utility companies are not only compelled to trim branches and trees that may damage power lines, but that you (the property owner) are compelled to allow them access.
The ultimate answer for who is responsible for clearing the debris is down to your local city and state laws, so be sure to check with them in advance of any work taking place, or you could be left with a nasty surprise.
OPTIONS FOR FREE
If getting into a legal wrangling match with a utility company doesn’t seem to be a viable way for you to get free tree clearance, then all is not lost; there are still ways to remove a tree from your land for free.
THESE WAYS INCLUDE:
Do the work yourself
Contacting the city
The 2003 blackout was a watershed moment when it came to forcing utility companies to take care of power lines.
The federal government designated an Electric Reliability Organization, which had the responsibility to develop and enforce standards to ensure the reliability of power throughout the country. Part of this is the role of vegetation management and tree trimming.