Trimming Near Utilities
There are several hazards associated with trimming near utilities. For this reason, most municipalities and/or energy providers will trim vegetation growing within 10-12 ft of power lines. While this service is often provided for free, hiring an arborist to trim your trees before they reach the clearance threshold can give you some control over whether they are pruned with care or quickly to meet the bottom line needs of the power company or city forestry department.
You should never attempt to do your own trimming when it comes to energized lines and nearby or touching tree limbs. The rule of thumb is to always assume that any wire and touching vegetation is energized, even if its "just the TV cable." We use specialized equipment including insulated bucket trucks, fiberglass "hotsticks," and hydraulic pole saws when there is potential contact with power lines from basic service wires to the highest voltage lines. Furthermore, our Line Clearance Certified Arborists have been trained in pruning techniques that allow for material to fall away from rather than into power lines as we cut and rig the pieces down, further ensuring the safety of the property and anyone in the area. Our arborists use the "five to stay alive" expression, meaning that we don't come within 5 ft of a potentially charged line. However, the techniques we use enable us to make cuts to within 2 ft remove touching and interlaced material that is highly prone to snagging on overhead electrical wires.