Clearance of trees from around the utility line that runs to your house is essential as tree branches can blow around in the wind and snap your utility line.

If the tree growing into the utility line is on your property, you will need to call an arborist tree service. They will come out and trim the tree. If the tree is on city land, you will need to speak to the utility company or local council to arrange to have it trimmed.

utility line clearance

The cost to clear a utility line will depend on the height and number of trees and branches obstructing the line. For a single story home, you will pay on average $225 per tree. For jobs with a bit more height, you may pay up to $350 per tree.

Does the tree service need a license?

Tree services working around power lines will need the proper training (OSHA 1910.269) and should be able to provide you will paperwork to prove they are qualified. They will also need to present public liability insurance paperwork and an arboriculture certificate.

On top of that the local city or state may require them to have a local licence to practice arboriculture and trim trees. If the tree service is insured, but does not have the proper license, the insurance company may not cover any accident. So make sure everything is in order before they begin.

What is the cheapest way to get utility line clearance?

The cheapest way would be to call your utility company and ask them to do the work. Normally when the tree is on your property, you are required to handle it, but in a lot of cases, they will come out at your request and have the tree trimmed free of charge.

How to find the best priced companies

It is tricky trying to find a good priced tree service company to trim trees around utility lines. But here are a few tips:

Hire in winter

Tree companies have a shortage of work in winter, especially in December and January, so if you can save your job until then, you will get a better price. The reason being companies tend to bid cheaper prices to win work when there is a shortage.

Hey big spender

Some tree services pay big money to show at the top of google search and directories to get more work. The problem is they need to charge more to make up for their large marketing budget. Look on page 2 and 3 of google to get the better priced services.

The no brainer

It sounds obvious, but be sure to get at least 3 quotes. It’s tempting to go with the first company because the price sounds “reasonable”, but you can save hundreds of dollars, so it’s worth the effort.

Use this FREE service

GoTreeQuotes can help match you with great local tree services. Enter your Zip Code in the form at the top of the page and answer a few questions about your tree job. Tree services will contact you with prices. Recommendations are based on previous users’ votes.

clearing a utility line from a boom bucket

Can I get free utility clearance tree trimming?

As discussed above you might be able to get your utility company to come out and trim it for you free of charge.

Utility company

They normally pay contractors to do the job for them. The closer the tree is to the front of the property the easier it will be.

The city

Depending on the city and state you live in, you might be able to get the city to come to the party and trim your tree. It is rare though. But f you are a pensioner or on a low income and plead your case, for safety reasons they might come out and do it for you.

Insurance company

Depending on the coverage you have, you might get your home insurance company to pay for the work. But considering the low cost of the work and the initial excess you need to pay upfront to make a claim, will negate the savings you might enjoy.

What is the recommended minimum clearance of trees from utility lines?

Trees should be trimmed to 10 feet from utility lines and buildings. This may sound excessive, but it is worth bearing in mind a tree branch can blow around significantly, so having a large distance for a safety net is essential.

What happens if a tree branch is touching a utility line?

Because the utility lines going to your home are insulated, nothing will happen, but if the wind kicks up, the pressure from the branch thrashing around could sever the line and cut power to your house.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.