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Green Mountain Power 163 Acorn Lane Colchester, VT 05446 1-888-835-4672

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We are closed on major holidays, the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve

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Green Mountain Power

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Tree Care and Forestry

How we keep your service reliable while protecting the environment.

We maintain almost 11,000 miles of power lines across the state of Vermont. Keeping these lines free from fallen trees and branches is one of the most important ways we maintain our strict reliability standards. Vermont is 90% forested, so providing reliable service in an efficient manner, while minimizing the environmental impact, is no simple endeavor. To accomplish this, we work with property owners and customers to try to improve reliability and overall tree health. In this section, we provide info on what we do with trees, how we do it, and how you can enjoy your trees and help us protect you and your neighbors from power outages.

Our professional team of foresters works hard to keep your lights on and costs down, and to be good stewards of the environment. Our goals are simple:

  • Maintain a focus on vegetation management, selectively remove undesirable tree species, and maintain healthy compatible trees along the edge of our rights-of-way.
  • Maintain a selective herbicide application program to promote desirable low-growing vegetation, reduce future stem density of tall-growing species, and increase plant biodiversity.
  • Continue to research new technologies and techniques that minimize environmental impacts and reduce long-term cost.

We use trained tree trimmers to perform work. Crews are taught the latest pruning techniques to maintain healthy trees. The work our tree contractors do is monitored by Certified Utility Arborists who are trained in forestry and arboriculture. A contract tree crew may contact you before beginning work. In some cases, if we do not know who owns parcels of land, we will perform work without notification if we have a right-of-way. If you have any questions about our schedules and practices, please call Customer Service 1-888-835-4672 or email .  

Fallen trees
Fallen trees and their branches are one of the most common causes of power outages in New England. We spend millions of dollars each year on tree pruning and removal programs. Our Forestry Department also runs an extensive vegetation management program to reduce tree-related outages and promote healthy tree growth. 

Transmission rights-of-way
Transmission lines deliver electricity from generating stations to substations or substation to substation.  A transmission right-of-way (ROW) is the strip of land we obtained by easement or acquired in fee to install, maintain, replace, and remove lines and related equipment. Along with the rights for line construction, the ROW allows us to cut down, trim and manage trees and other vegetation to help maintain reliability. 

Easements secured for these ROWs may also include the right to remove what are known as “danger trees.” A danger tree is a tree outside of the defined limits of the ROW corridor, but with the potential to do damage to equipment within the ROW.  

Our transmission ROWs are typically a minimum of 100 feet wide, but are often wider.  While normally centered within the width of the ROW, there are some places where the transmission line may be offset to one side of the ROW.  Depending on the width of the ROW, line location within the ROW, topography, the type of vegetation and other factors, the corridor may not be cleared to its full width at all times. 

Distribution rights-of-way
Distribution lines carry power from local substations to homes and businesses. A distribution ROW gives access to a strip of land so that utilities (electric, telephone, cable, water and/or gas) can build, operate and maintain their lines.  Most ROWs also include the right to cut down, trim and manage trees and other vegetation along these lines.

This ROW is a property right granted to us in perpetuity by a property owner to provide safe and reliable delivery of energy. Utility companies authorized by law to operate within the state also have certain statutory rights to build, operate and maintain lines within the ROW limits of public highways.

The ROW width required for overhead distribution power lines is normally 30 or 50 feet, but these widths can vary and may be narrower or defined differently.

Vegetation and power lines

Trees come in lots of sizes and shapes, grow at different rates, and thrive under different conditions. When growing near streets, sidewalks, power lines and buildings, the wrong kind of tree in the wrong place can cause expensive problems. 

Dangerous and expensive situations can be avoided by thinking ahead about how tall a small sapling will be when it matures. It can also help assure your long-term enjoyment of healthy trees. When choosing and planting a tree, please consider the following:

Size Restrictions: Estimate the maximum height and spread tolerable. Don't forget utility wires and pipes above and below ground. Roots can spread as far as a tree is tall.

Light: Sunny, shady or intermediate? Some plants are shade-tolerant; others need all-day sun. Flowering and brilliant fall colors both depend on adequate sunlight. 

Soils: Wet, dry, or well drained? Most New England soils are acidic, perfect for evergreens and other kinds of plants. When in doubt, have your soil tested by the Cooperative Extension System.

Tree Selection
Want to plant trees and not have to worry about too much interaction with the power lines? The following trees are hardy enough to grow in our region, and are compatible with utility lines: 

American Arborvitae American Cranberrybush Viburnum
Arrowwood Viburnum Nannyberry Viburnum
Wayfaring Tree Viburnum Bob White Crabapple
Harvest Gold Crabapple Donald Wyman Crabapple
Indian Summer Crabapple Prairiefire Crabappple
Professor Sprenger Crabapple Red Barron Crabapple
Red Jade Crabapple Redbud Crabapple
Snowdrift Crabapple Spring Snow Crabapple
Redosier Dogwood Nanking Cherry
Purpleleaf Sand Cherry Canada Red Chokecherry
Red Chokeberry Tatarian Dogwood
Gray Dogwood Pagoda Dogwood
American Wild Plum Amur Maackia
Border Forsythia Cockspur Hawthorn
Japanese Tree Lilac Mountain-Laurel
Mugo Pine Panicle Hydrangea
Pussy Willow Winterberry
Witch Hazel

For more information, visit http://www.vtfpr.org/urban/treeselectiontool.cfm

Partnerships

An important part of our success, in continually improving our program, is the work we do with others including state and local agencies committed to the environment, just as we are.  We work closely with community tree wardens and the Vermont Division of Forestry's Urban and Community Forestry program. Here are some resources to help you make the right tree choice for your neck of the woods: