Power Lines on One Side / Safe to Climb Away From Wires?

climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
I trimmed some branches away from the roof on this tree back in 2017.

The guy called me back and wants me to thin it out and remove dead wood.

You can see there is power lines through the left side.

Last time I climbed it I just stayed away from that side. Obviously it probably has had more growth since then.

I’m unsure whether I should be worried about climbing away from the lines but electricity traveling through tree? I climbed it a couple years ago, but if there’s more growth which could mean more contact between tree and wires is that cause for concern possibly?

To be clear, I would stay away from the lines altogether but if the current could travel even if I’m away from it then I shouldn’t even be up there in the first place right?


Here’s a pic of the tree with wires on the left side:

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climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
Power lines are usually at the top of the pole right?

Just to be clear I would be staying clear of the wires and not working around them at all. Whatever is on that side near there I would leave.

Working around wires doesn’t make me all that nervous I just want to be safe and not take any unnecessary risks.

My primary concern is any possibility of electricity jumping or flowing through tree to where I am, even if I am not right near the wires.

A3FDA3FE-22CE-4412-BAD1-9B0B3A5A645B.jpeg
 
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climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
I’m also wondering whether I shouldn’t recommend they find someone who deals with electrical clearance. When I trimmed the tree a couple years ago I was on the exact opposite side the majority of the time. One of my climber buddies who also does tree work said you need to be 10ft or more away which I know has been mentioned already here, but electricity can still flow through a branch and shock you?
 
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I was on a disaster relief job in Florida after Hurricane Michael. I was working two trees that had fallen on a house and were twisted together. I was in a precarious position where I was a little nervous anyway. The power guys turned on a line that had not been cleared. It was probably a hundred yards from me, but it arced at least five feet. I didn’t know that was possible. I was careful around power lines before, but I am much more wide eyed around them now.
 

climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
I was on a disaster relief job in Florida after Hurricane Michael. I was working two trees that had fallen on a house and were twisted together. I was in a precarious position where I was a little nervous anyway. The power guys turned on a line that had not been cleared. It was probably a hundred yards from me, but it arced at least five feet. I didn’t know that was possible. I was careful around power lines before, but I am much more wide eyed around them now.

For this particular situation the whole tree really needs to be pruned not just the right side, so it almost would make sense to refer it someone who is properly trained to work around wires with the reduced risk of a climber being up in there I am starting to think? I believe some guy's will use an insulated bucket truck yea?
 

Winchman

Branched out member
I'd suggest calling the local power company to see if they'll prune the limbs well clear of their lines. You may have to wait for them to come, and they may or may not trim limbs near the other lines, but at least you'll be safer.

The thing you really want to avoid is letting a limb you've cut but not dropped touch a live wire. That makes you the path to ground.
 

Jehinten

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Evansville
Looks like its wires going pole to pole, around here those are trimmed around for free by sub contractor's for the utility company. Have them create the MAD distance for you, then cleanup their work with proper cuts. Odds are that line is on a maintenance rotation anyways and at some point they'll be going through creating that distance, only then stubs will likely be left behind
 

climbingmonkey24

Branched out member
Location
United States
So if the power company cleared that back and the wires were no longer in contact with the tree, that would reduce or eliminate the risk of electrcity jumping or flowing through tree?
 

Jehinten

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Evansville
So if the power company cleared that back and the wires were no longer in contact with the tree, that would reduce or eliminate the risk of electrcity jumping or flowing through tree?
Yes. Depending on the voltage depends on how far that distance is. I'm guessing 10 feet from your pic but your power company will know.

Then you'll have to make sure not to swing tools that direction (pole saws and such) and ropes as well, as anything within that measurement breaks the distance that your supposed to keep.



As an alternative option, power lines can also be electrically insulated with sleeves. I've had this done on high voltages lines for a crane job. The trimming has always been a free service, but they charged to sleeve the lines. At least that's how it is here.
 
Power company would probably want the branches off the 1/0 triplex secondaries anyway. Only a matter of time before the part power and flickering lights calls start rolling in.
 

Tony

Branched out member
Location
Lancaster, PA
There are so many misconceptions around these issues. For clarity, the pictures are not conclusive enough to give an accurate assessment. The wires circled in the second pic are most likely street light wires. There may or may not be a Single phase and accompanying ground above it.

Having said that, I will take the opportunity to explain what goes into all this and how Approach Distances work.

An approach distance is determined by 3 things. Your level of training, the nominal voltage, and your height above sea level.

Level of training. Under ANSI Z133 You can be in unqualified, qualified line clearance arborist(QLCA) or Incidental qualified pin clearance arborist. (QILCA)
The first is obvious
QLCA is an arborist through training and experience is qualified to work around electrical hazards and works for the utility.
QILCA is an arborist through training and experience is qualified to work around electrical hazards and does not work for the utility.

Estimatmating voltage is a combination of testing, grid map and hardware identification. This is obtained through EHAT training.

Sea level. The chart has three sections for altitude. 0-5000ft, 5001-10000ft, 10001-15000ft.

Once the approach distance is determined, all tree parts, the worker and his/her tools must not get closer than the determined distance based on the three factors of training, voltage, and altitude.

There is much more to all this, but that is it in brief.

Tony
 
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Tony

Branched out member
Location
Lancaster, PA
Thank you Tony. Not to diss anyone, but there was a lot of misinformation in this discussion. Dont gamble your lives on in get informed and work safe so you go home at night . Tcia has ehap programs to help inform. Spend a few dollars to become informed.
Absolutely. I am all for climbingmonky24’s
original post and ask It is far better to be cautious than dead. I will always respect caution.

It is possible to work safely around electricity. It is possibly to choose education over hearsay. It is good to ask questions when you don’t understand.

I appreciate the ability to inform. The privilege to share what has been given to me.

Mostly I appreciate honest curiosity, the willingness to learn. I value this becasue this is how I learn. Selfish as that sounds.

Tony
 
Absolutely. I am all for climbingmonky24’s
original post and ask It is far better to be cautious than dead. I will always respect caution.

It is possible to work safely around electricity. It is possibly to choose education over hearsay. It is good to ask questions when you don’t understand.

I appreciate the ability to inform. The privilege to share what has been given to me.

Mostly I appreciate honest curiosity, the willingness to learn. I value this becasue this is how I learn. Selfish as that sounds.

Tony
Tony, may I add ask questions to the appropriate people. If it’s power line, call the power company. Telecommunications lines call the cable or phone company. Unless working you need to work around those utilities is necessary to save someone’s life it can wait.
 

Tony

Branched out member
Location
Lancaster, PA
Tony, may I add ask questions to the appropriate people. If it’s power line, call the power company. Telecommunications lines call the cable or phone company. Unless working you need to work around those utilities is necessary to save someone’s life it can wait.
I agree. But also take the time and effort to educate yourself and understand how the system works so appropriate, safe choices can be made.

Tony
 
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