ROW Maintenance Program

Robinson loop, AK, heavily wooded and shrubby area with power line above
Sterling Robinson Loop Area Before ROW clearing
Robinson loop, AK, heavily wooded and shrubby area with power line above
Sterling Robinson Loop Area After ROW clearing

When HEA’s right-of-way crews clear an area around power lines, your power should not be affected. In fact, this program is in place to prevent trees from growing into the power lines.

The areas scheduled to be worked in 2020 are as follows:

  • Nikiski: Island lake, Holt Lamplight and parts of Halbouty Road
  • Nikiski: North of Bernice Lake along the Kenai Spur Highway to Captain Cook Park
  • Across the Bay: McKeon Flats

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does HEA clear right of ways?
HEA maintains 1,500 miles of overhead power line. We clear for these three basic reasons:

  • A clear right of way enables our line crews to quickly and safely access power lines, identify outage causes, and make repairs. Maintaining cleared rights of way has helped shorten the number of outages considerably.
  • To prevent hazard trees from falling into the lines. Trees falling into power lines are one of the leading causes of power outages. As clearing progresses through our power grid, hazard trees are identified and removed.
  • To prevent trees from growing into the line. Trees growing into power lines become energized and are hazardous to people, pets, and equipment.
How much area will be cleared?

Most right-of-way easements are 20-feet wide. 10 feet on each side of the centreline from the power poles. We cut all brush to the ground, so there is a ground-to-sky clearance.

What is a hazard tree?

Hazard trees are trees with severe defects, which may cause the tree or part of the tree, to fail and damage our equipment, such as a high-voltage power line. Examples include:

  • Dead trees
  • Decayed trunks or root systems
  • Severely leaning or overhanging trees
  • Trees with high potential to fall into a line due to snow load
  • Trees infected by spruce bark beetles

HEA’s Operations Department can evaluate hazardous trees to determine if there’s a potential danger. If it is determined that a tree poses an unacceptable risk to our equipment, we may remove it. Site visits are rarely needed with the member present. To report a tree, you suspect may be hazardous, contact our Member Services Department.

Please note: Due to limited resources, we do not remove trees that are not in danger of damaging our equipment. If you are clearing around your service drop and suspect you may fall a tree into the power line, we recommend you hire a tree contractor.

If it is an overhead service, the member can coordinate a line drop for $60 then cut the tree(s). If other utilities are along the same overhead route coordination with the other utilities would be the responsibility of the homeowner.

  • Never attempt to trim or remove hazard trees yourself. The result could be damage to HEA facilities and you will be financially responsible for any repairs. When in uncertain please contact HEA to discuss.
  • Never touch a tree in contact with a power line. Trees do conduct electricity and can cause serious injury or death.
How are members notified of HEA’s ROW clearing plans?

Carlos Tree Service attempts to notify residents well in advance. Even if we will not be working on your property, we may have to access our work area through your right of way. Members are usually notified by mail of work being done in your area, but someone may talk to you in person or leave a door hanger. This gives you the opportunity to contact us before work begins. For more information, contact our Member Services Department.

Right-Of-Way Clearing Notice

What kind of equipment does HEA use to clear?

You will see us clearing with machines, as well as hand clearing. The mechanical clearing is done with a brush mower and a Sky Trim. The mowers cut and mulch the brush. The Sky Trim, which has a 75-foot boom with a rotating saw blade, cut tree branches growing towards the power lines. Care should be taken to stay well away from the machines (300 feet is the recommendation), as they can throw pieces of wood or other debris that could cause injury.

Hand crews clear where the mower can’t go, due to restrictive terrain, lawns, or close proximity to buildings. Hand crews cut and stack brush along the edge of the right of way, trimmed tree branches that the Sky Trim cannot reach, and remove hazard trees system-wide.

Will you clear around my electrical service drop?

Service drops are the lines that connect your house or business to HEA’s high-voltage lines. HEA owns up to the meter, the homeowner does not own the service drop. Note that small twigs and leaves brushing against the line should not cause any problems with your electric service.

HEA will evaluate trees threatening a service drop, but we are not obligated to cut them. If you have trees you wish to remove that are not classified as hazard trees, HEA recommends hiring a tree contractor.

Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place. Large Trees: Height/spread of more than 40 ft, such as: Maple, Oak, Spruce, Pine, Birch, Sweetgum, Linden. Medium Trees: Height/spread of 25 to 40ft, such as: Washington hawthorn, Goldenraintree, Eastern redbud, American arborvitae, Dogwoods. Small Trees: Avoid planting within 20 ft of power lines. When planting within 20ft is unavoidable, use only shrubs and small trees. Height/spread of no more than 25ft, such as: Star magnolia, Crabapple, Lilac. For more tips on smart tree planting in your community, contact your local electric cooperative or visit www.arborday.org

General Information and Resources on trees, planting, and care: