How we manage trees near our system
Maintaining a safe and reliable system
B.C. has some of the tallest and fastest-growing trees in North America. Trees and plants that grow too close to our system can lead to power outages and safety risks. This is why we monitor and maintain trees and plants near our electrical infrastructure and facilities to ensure our system remains safe and reliable.
Our vegetation management program proactively identifies, trims or removes potentially hazardous trees to:
- Maintain public and worker safety
- Help prevent vegetation-related power outages
- Reduce the risk of fire caused by trees contacting lines
- Ensure our employees and contractors can safely and easily inspect, maintain, and repair our electrical system
- Regular inspections and maintenance of our wood power poles is another key aspect of ensuring the safety and reliability of our system. Learn more.
See our service area map [PDF, 191 KB]
Work is guided by best practices and our vegetation management plans
The work we conduct to maintain the trees and plants near our system is done in accordance with best vegetation care practices and our Integrated Vegetation Management Plans:
Our current plan for our facilities:
- Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for our facilities - (2021-2026) [PDF, 1.25 MB]
- Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for our facilities - Appendices (2021-2026) [PDF, 948 KB]
- Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for our facilities - MoE Confirmation Letter (2021-2026) [PDF, 225 KB]
Our current plan for transmission and distribution line corridors:
- Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for transmission and distribution line corridors (2022-2027) [PDF, 957 KB]
- Appendix 1 of the Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for transmission and distribution line corridors (2022-2027) - Map of BC Hydro Transmission System [PDF, 141 KB]
- Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for transmission and distribution line corridors - Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Confirmation Letter (2022- 2027) [PDF, 173 KB]
Pruning and removing vegetation to prevent outages
Over half of all outages in the province are caused by adverse weather causing trees and vegetation to come into contact with our system. Our vegetation management team regularly inspects our system to identify potential problems and help prevent these types of outages.
How we prune trees near power lines
We hire Certified Utility Arborists (CUAs) who are qualified to work in close proximity to energized power lines. They manage vegetation in an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable way, while keeping the electrical system safe and reliable. Trees are only removed when necessary, and after careful consideration.
We have strict environmental requirements, like conserving trees and plants near bodies of water and protecting at-risk species.
Before we start any work on private property, we'll contact the property owner to discuss the work required.
Vegetation management methods
We use a variety of methods to manage vegetation near our system. This includes pruning, hazard tree removal, and herbicide application, as well as encouraging compatible use of the land.
The Ministry of Environment authorizes our use of herbicides and the products we use have been approved by Health Canada.
We regularly inspect our wood utility poles to reduce the number of outages caused by pole failures. When necessary, we use pesticides and wood preservatives [PDF, 2.4 MB] to extend the lifespan of our poles. Untreated poles can last for about 30 years, while a pole treated with wood preservatives can last up to 70 years.
Our Pest Management Guide [PDF, 515 KB] describes the maintenance of transmission and distribution wood structures and is a reference document for our Test and Treat program, which is designed to prolong the life of our wood poles from initial purchase to ongoing inspection and maintenance programs.