Look up and down, in the sky, and underground, before you dig.
CALL Montana 811 (UDIG) 755-UDIG for a free line locate before you plant a tree.
Trees that grow too close to power lines can be an extreme safety hazard for children and tree trimmers. Only qualified workers are allowed to work within 10 feet of an energized line. Flathead Electric tree trimming crews, or contract trimming crews are trained in the latest pruning techniques as presented by the International Society of Arboriculture. Please call Flathead Electric Right of Way at 406-751-4410 if you have questions. For more information, see the Right of Way Handbook (PDF format).1.2meg.
Flathead Electric's mission statement reads:
"As a member owned cooperative, we strive to provide competitive and reliable service, achieve the highest level of member satisfaction and enhance the quality of life in our communities."
Flathead Electric's Vegetation Management Program has important impacts on both parts of this statement. First, because trees are the cause the majority of our outages and second, trees are a very important part of the natural beauty of our valley.
We understand conflict that sometimes occurs when trees need to be trimmed or removed along power line corridors. However, with some forethought and good information, we can avoid these conflicts and turn them into win-win situations. Members can plant and maintain landscape trees or shrubs as ornamentals or buffers, and Flathead Electric can provide more reliable service while increasing public and worker safety as partners on a landscape team.
Our Vegetation Management Plan places our entire system on approximately a ten-year cycle. This is a pro-active approach at improving and maintaining reliability and minimizing storm outages. Danger trees (dead or defective trees that threaten the line), or hazard trees (climbable, or containing a tree house) will be removed as they are reported, or during the regular cycle trim.
In the interests of public safety and providing our workers with a safe, clean working environment, it is imperative that our members plant and maintain only grass, flowers, or low-growing, trees, hedges or shrubs within the 15-foot zone, either side of the power lines. This will help us to provide you with reliable, efficient service in the future.
Follow this link which will open a new window, for a list of tree species that reach a mature height of 25-feet or less, provided by our State Urban Forester and local nurserymen. It contains species that should do well in our northwest Montana environment. In some cases, it would be acceptable to plant and maintain these species within the 15-foot zones mentioned previously. The determining factors will be the existing height of the line, and the mature height of the trees or shrubs. Please keep in mind that we need to maintain a 10-foot clearance between the conductors and any part of a tree. The only exceptions to this rule are in the case of some large diameter, healthy trees where the main trunk of the tree might be within 5 feet of the line.
Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2016