Right of way

Right of way

What in the world is Right of Way?

Our Right of Way department is more affectionately known to our members as the Tree Trimming Department because sometimes we have to trim trees around power lines to help ensure that your power and your neighbors’ power will not be interrupted.

Each JWEMC member agrees in the membership application to grant us a Right of Way easement, giving us permission to cut and keep clear all trees within an unsafe distance from the power lines. View our Right of Way policies, clearing schedule and pruning techniques below. 

Joe Wheeler EMC uses pruning techniques that are recommended by the International Society of Arboriculture, the American National Standards Institute, and the National Arbor Day Foundation to ensure the health of your trees.

Right of Way Procedures

  • Routine Right of Way clearing activities will be performed to accomplish a 4-year clearing cycle to maximize productivity, maximize benefits from Right of Way funding, and minimize power interruptions.
  • During routine Right of Way maintenance, all trees within the Right of Way will be removed wherever possible. The right of Way width for single-phase lines is 30 feet and 40 feet for three-phase lines.
  • Fifteen feet of clearance between trees and energized conductors will be maintained. In special situations, a minimum clearance of 10 feet must be obtained.
  • Trees around secondary or service lines will be trimmed to provide only three feet of clearance and only during routine maintenance activities. No trimming will be done on service lines between trimming cycles unless limbs are exerting excessive pressure on the lines.
  • JWEMC will not cut trees, healthy or dead, around service lines. JWEMC will have the line disconnected so that the property owner may have the tree cut.
  • Trees outside of JWEMC's Right of Way will not be cut unless the trees are determined by JWEMC to be endangering primary power lines or the removal of these trees will significantly benefit the reliability of electrical power or reduce future Right of Way clearance costs.
  • Property owners will be responsible for hiring qualified tree removal personnel to safely remove trees adjacent to JWEMC power line Right of Ways.
  • Dead trees will be cut only if they pose a significant threat to primary power lines. Dead trees cut to protect power lines will not be cleaned up.
  • Trimming requests submitted by JWEMC personnel and by customers will be investigated, and work will be done if it is warranted. Trees causing power interruptions will be trimmed before any other tree trimming work is performed. Trees determined not to be an immediate threat to electrical power distribution or public safety will not be trimmed until scheduled routine maintenance.
  • Trees will be trimmed in accordance with the tree trimming methods approved by the National Arborists Association, the American National Standards Institute, and the National Arbor Day Foundation, to promote tree health and to reduce re-sprouting. Names for this type of pruning include “the Shiago Method”, Drop-Crotch Pruning, and Directional Pruning.
  • Stumps of all trees cut by hand will be treated with an approved herbicide to prevent re-sprouting.
  • Brush and debris from tree trimming and Right of Way clearing activities will be cleaned up only in actively maintained areas. In non-maintained areas, brush and debris will be mowed during routine maintenance or hand-cut into smaller pieces and left on site.
  • Brush and debris due to storms or power outages will not be cleaned up.
  • Property owners will be notified in advance whenever possible of any Right of Way clearing activities that need to be performed on their property.
  • Dead brush from herbicide application will not be cut down or cleaned up.