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PG&E Encourages Safe Planting During California Arbor Week

Utility Encourages Right Tree in the Right Place and Calling 811 Before Planting

SAN FRANCISCO, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As California celebrates Arbor Week from March 7-14, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging customers to take steps to safely plant the right trees in the right place. Trees may eventually grow to heights that can interfere with overhead power lines—regardless of their size when planted. That is why it is important to plant the "right tree, in the right place." Customers should also call 8-1-1 before digging to plant a tree to avoid hitting underground utilities.   

Trees provide many benefits including, improving the landscape, keeping homes cool by providing shade and helping clean the air. However, if the right tree is not planted in the right place, it can cause power outages, fires and, if branches or limbs come into contact with energized power lines, cause electrocution. In fact, more than 90 percent of tree-caused power outages come from healthy trees and branches growing or falling into power lines. 

"Even during this time of record drought conditions, we can plant trees that benefit our communities," stated Stephen Tankersley, manager of Vegetation Management for PG&E. "California native trees that are drought-resistant and low growing can be the right tree when planted in the right place to help keep our communities cool in the warmer summer months and clean our air year round."

It's important to remember to call 8-1-1 at least two business days before planting a tree to have underground utility lines marked before digging begins. This is a free service that notifies the appropriate utility companies such as PG&E of the caller's intent to dig. After all lines have been properly marked, planting can begin.

In keeping with the spirit of California's Arbor Week, PG&E would like to offer the following tips to ensure that the right tree is safely planted in the right place. If you are planting trees near high-voltage power lines please remember:

  • Only plant a tree under power lines if it will grow to less than 25 feet at maturity.  (This information is available at your local nursery or by visiting: http://selectree.calpoly.edu/)
  • When planting near transmission power lines, only use low-growing plants. 
  • Call 8-1-1 at least two days before planting trees or landscaping, to have underground power lines and other utilities marked. 
  • Keep all trees, people and equipment at least 10 feet away from high-voltage electric power lines.
  • If a tree grows closer than 10 feet to a power line, PG&E should be notified.by calling 1-800-PGE-5000.

Customers may email RightTreeRightPlace@pge.com for a free copy of PG&E's A Selection and Planting Guide to Small Trees Near Distribution Lines. There is one for each of the three climate zones within our service area; Northern California, Central California and Bay Area/Inland. To view a video explaining PG&E's vegetation management practices, please click here.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

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SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

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