As we enter the winter weather season, questions often arise regarding PG&E electric lines: •Where are they? •What’s the difference between transmission and distribution? •How do I know if the lines are communication or PG&E electric? •Is PG&E responsible for clearing vegetation around the service drop? •Why and when does PG&E clear vegetation from electric lines?
These links provide additional information that may be helpful.
PG&E also recommends you know your overhead lines. Below are photos showing the different overhead lines and their descriptions.
Communication lines Communication lines, such as telephone and cable TV, are the lowest lines on the pole. They are typically black and thicker than any other lines. In most areas, PG&E does not own or conduct maintenance on communication wires. Contact your phone service provider for concerns with communication lines.
Service drops Service drops extend from the electric distribution transformer or secondary line to homes or businesses. California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Electric Service Rules require customers to maintain a clear route, free of hazards for the electric service wire from the pole to the service delivery point.
Secondary lines Secondary lines are positioned above communication lines and below the highest voltage distribution lines. Typically these secondary lines carry 240 volts of electricity to homes and businesses. PG&E performs vegetation clearance on these lines when strain and abrasion are evident, per CPUC General Order 95 (CPUC) requirements.
Distribution lines Distribution lines deliver electricity to neighborhoods and are generally supported by wooden poles. The voltage of these lines generally ranges from four thousand volts to 21 thousand volts. Under CPUC GO 95, these lines require year-round clearance of a minimum of 18 inches, with lines in some rural areas requiring up to four feet of clearance. PG&E utilizes directional pruning techniques to maintain customer trees to these requirements. Removal can be a preferred option for tall or fast growing species.
Transmission lines Transmission lines transport bulk electricity at high voltages ranging from 60 thousand volts to 500 thousand volts. These lines are generally supported on tall metal towers, but may also be located on wooden poles. Federal requirements require clearances around transmission lines to prevent outages caused by encroachment by trees and other vegetation. Our goal is to achieve a sustainable landscape that supports native plants and natural habitats. Trees near these lines are difficult to effectively manage by continued pruning, and often must be removed.
For information regarding trees and power lines, visit: pge.com/trees