Whose Responsibility?

Tree pruning and maintenance is the responsibility of both the property owner and Liberty Utilities.


Liberty Utilities’ routine tree pruning responsibilities and schedule

To ensure safety and electric service reliability, Liberty Utilities schedules tree pruning in your area every four to five years adhering to the industry “best practices.”

Liberty Utilities uses a technique called “directional pruning” in order to naturally “train” and direct growth away from the wires. This method is a true benefit to the health of the tree as it reduces disease and decay entry points. This pruning practice was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service and is endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture, the National Arbor Day Foundation and other tree-care professionals around the world.

We only hire qualified contractors to do this work. Working efficiently as possible, we schedule pruning by electric circuit and time since last prune. Unless there is a significant tree hazard affecting the electric wires in your area, we do not perform tree pruning outside of our pruning schedule.

During scheduled pruning, Liberty Utilities’ pruning is limited to tree branches that affect electric wires only. Minor pruning may be performed around service drops when crews are in the area pruning trees located near main lines. Service lines can withstand minor contact from trees. Branches that could rub against and damage a home's electric service line are removed so there is a clear path to a home. Major work, such as tree removal, must be performed by you or your contractor and requires disconnection of electric service to make the situation electrically safe. This is a free service. We do not prune trees or branches that affect individual customer service lines for phone and cable wires.

Before pruning, we attempt to notify customers by postcard, door hanger or a Liberty Utilities work planner. Liberty Utilities prunes trees to maintain a minimum of 15 feet of clearance above, 10 feet below and 8 feet to the side of our power lines. The following illustrations provide examples of the proper directional pruning for shade and ornamental trees:

As part of our tree pruning process, crews will chip the branches they remove from the trees in your yard. Wood pieces that cannot be chipped will be cut into manageable lengths and left near the base of the tree. In areas that are natural and not actively groomed, wood/brush may be left to naturally decompose.


Homeowner tree pruning responsibilities

Often customers need additional pruning beyond what Liberty Utilities performs. Working efficiently as possible, we schedule pruning by electric circuit and time of last prune. Unless there is a significant tree hazard affecting the electric wires in your area, we do not perform tree pruning outside of our pruning schedule. If additional pruning work beyond what we provide in our scheduled maintenance program is desired, you can request a consultation with the Liberty Utilities Forestry Department to determine whose responsibility it is. If it is determined to be the homeowner’s responsibility you may hire an electrically qualified tree contractor (see Choosing a Contractor) to complete that work at your own expense. We will work closely with you and your qualified contractor.

Important Note: During or after any storm event, consider all downed wires to be energized and dangerous, including telephone, fiber optic, and cable TV wires. They may be in contact with energized electric wires that are not within your view. To report downed electric wires, please call 1-855-349-9455.

Already a Liberty Utilities customer? Create an account and learn about your online payment options.