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Transmission Vegetation Management

At Xcel Energy, safety is our number one goal. As a part of our transmission line clearance program, we are required to keep transmission facilities and transmission right of ways (ROWs) clear of all vegetation that could grow too close to conductors. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, which could include tree removal. Learn more by reading our guidelines below.

Electric Transmission Lines

We strive to keep electrical transmission facilities and transmission right of ways (ROWs) clear of all tall-growing trees, brush, and other vegetation that could grow too close to conductors. This is accomplished by routine maintenance on each transmission circuit, including tree removal, pruning, mowing and herbicide application. Each ROW has an established maintenance cycle depending on work required.

Maintenance objectives include:

  • Public and worker safety
  • Compliance with regulatory and legal requirements
  • Reliable electric service that allows for operational flexibility
  • Environmental stewardship and habitat enhancement

Transmission Right of Way (PDF)

Transmission Corridor Lines

Where feasible, the Bramble and Byrnes wire zone/border zone concept is integrated into the vegetation management program to allow for different types and heights of vegetation in the ROW. The International Society of Arboriculture’s booklet "Best Management Practices – Integrated Vegetation Management" provides a good working summary of this concept. This concept differentiates between the wire zone directly under the conductors and the remaining border zone.

Generally, this concept allows for different yet compatible vegetation types in these separate zones.

  • Wire Zone: Area directly underneath the conductor(s). Vegetation in the wire zone comprises low-growing forbs and grasses.

  • Border Zone: Area that begins at the outside edge of the wire zone and extends to the edge of the easement. The border zone many contain additional low-growing woody plants and trees.

  • Areas outside the border zone must be patrolled for hazard trees.

In addition, minimum clearance guidelines have been established that are to be maintained at all times. Crews performing the work must consider the tree or plant species, growing environment, regrowth rate, maintenance cycle length, etc. to determine the amount of clearance required at the time of the work.

Bramble and Byrnes Wire Zone Diagram

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Energy Saving Tip

Have your home checked for leaky ducts, drafts around doors and windows, fireplace dampers, and other places where air might escape.

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Break Ground, Not the Law

Always call 811 before digging in your yard to avoid hitting buried gas or electric lines. Not only is it the safe thing to do, but it's the law.