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

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
I did want to broach a subject that @Tony briefly mentioned in hopes that he could shed more light. I myself have never quite understood the incidental line clearance arborist designation. Would the utility recognize that if you knocked out power or got killed? My understanding is if you are within their MAD or touch their infrastructure, you are technically trespassing. In my own experience, the incidental line clearance designation has only been used as a verbal tool by residential tree bosses to pressure unqualified arborists into breaking their 10 foot blanket MAD. They get their employees some EHAT training and now they are qualified to break the 10 foot MAD? Seems fishy. Thanks for the great convo I get a lot of value from the buzz.
-Colin
Thank you for all the input here, I appreciate your skill in the trees, and with words. I have often thought with the Incidental designator, it confuses me as well, and any insight anyone has would be appreciated.

As a former professional electrician, I have no problem working around service drops and communications lines, but I stay far away from primaries. I know what they can do, I’ve seen the aftermath and it’s not pretty.
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
@Colin1234567 I actually have been researching this topic this evening after posting in this thread and I came across something that said it is illegal for anyone who is not OSHA Certified Line Clearance Trained to trim within 10ft of power lines . Not sure if that has any meaning to what you’re talking about.
 

Winchman

Well-Known Member
In your first post, you said you were concerned about power jumping from the lines through the tree to where you'd be working. I made the suggestion to contact the power company in post #7. It ended with "...at least you'll be safer."

I'm glad you followed through with the suggestion, but I've since learned there's a big difference between being safer and being safe. Thank you, TreeBuzz.

I'll say now what I wish I'd said then. Get the proper training, or recommend the client hire someone who has it.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Location
Lancaster, PA
This discussion has me very interested and curious. Minimum approach distance has made an appearance several times. I’ve always respected MAD but at least in my experience, MAD in the classroom is a bit different than in real life. Example, the MAD for most primary distribution voltages is ~2’. That’s crazy close to 7200 volts. And anything up to 1000v is “avoid contact”. Identifying the “what’s hot and what’s not” is probably more beneficial than how “hot” it is. I guess my curiosity is why such an emphasis on minimum approach distance? I ask for my own understanding. I hope I’m not talking out of place. To be honest I’m just a rec climber so i maybe I shouldn’t be in on discussions like this. But on the other hand it could help me in my day to day to understand how arborists view and operate around power lines as I’m a line troubleshooter for a power company.
I would be more than happy too. so much miss information and confusion around all this.

Give me a day or so as I am currently on the road. I will provide some clarity around the regulations as they stand now.

Tony
 

Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
That’s really cool man thank you.

I apologize for the tangent I took off this topic. As to the original pictures posted. I’ll only speak to what I see for informational purposes only, and not advising how to work around it. And I understand that many already know this but here it goes. I see single phase primary at the top. Judging on insulator size probably in the 2400 to 7200 range. 1/0 triplex secondaries with a midspan service attached at a spreader. At the spreader it looks like one of the hot connections is bare. That’s the area to be cautious of. For the obvious electrical shock hazard but also there is only one spreader and if it turns for whatever reason the bare connection could contact the neutral. The service looks like it may be going across a road? If things go sideways nobody wants to compound possible injury and outage with a road closure. All that being said it’s a pretty docile environment for a person with adequate training. Not sure how this will be received but just want to help.

Brandon
 

Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
That’s fucking awesome! But man you tropical guys don’t count your in a different category. You guys have hands like leather you could probably bare hand any voltage you want lol. You guys don’t happen to need linemen down there do ya?
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
So I did end up deciding to walk from this one.

Power company did come out to trim back branches from wires but it appears they only trimmed the stuff overhead. There’s still branches almost touching the wires underneath, and they left pretty much everything going through all the other wires. Nowhere near 10ft clearance.

I made the recommendation the client find someone who is certified in electrical hazards / line clearance perform the work, and to make sure that whoever does do the work does in fact have the appropriate training.

Thanks for the good discussion and information. I always make safety a top priority on every job, but this has definitely got me thinking about additional things I can do and things to think about.

At some point I may look into electrical hazard / line clearance training. It’s not something I encounter regularly which is why I’ve never looked into getting trained but always good to have further knowledge in the event that the situation comes about again.
 

Bart_

Well-Known Member
Location
GTA
I have rules of thumb. 600V and above can flash burn you so should be respected, avoid touching. Separate than electrocution risk. kV and up keep clear, let the power company deal with it. 220V is ok if you're brave enough to plug in your stove or laundry drier by hand and that's what house drops usually are. Although I once took out a birch that had literally worn right through the 220 drop insulation, but was not in constant contact so I pieced it with eventually a small piece doing a direct bounce off the bare line surface, in isolation.

Don't mess with high tension lines.

There is a distinction between you keeping your clearance distance and the power company mitigating possible shorting or failure damage from the tree to the line. Hence they will leave closer gaps than for personal safety. I don't like those trees and shy away from them. Best no-brainer sign is when you hear the sizzling on a misty day.

I do have EE background but never played one on tv. :)
 

Marshy

Member
Location
North East
I have rules of thumb. 600V and above can flash burn you so should be respected, avoid touching. Separate than electrocution risk. kV and up keep clear, let the power company deal with it. 220V is ok if you're brave enough to plug in your stove or laundry drier by hand and that's what house drops usually are. Although I once took out a birch that had literally worn right through the 220 drop insulation, but was not in constant contact so I pieced it with eventually a small piece doing a direct bounce off the bare line surface, in isolation.

Don't mess with high tension lines.

There is a distinction between you keeping your clearance distance and the power company mitigating possible shorting or failure damage from the tree to the line. Hence they will leave closer gaps than for personal safety. I don't like those trees and shy away from them. Best no-brainer sign is when you hear the sizzling on a misty day.

I do have EE background but never played one on tv. :)
That noise is called "corona". Its the surrounding air becoming ionized and discharging like static. It's common on high voltage and especially audible on >100kV.

Good read here gents and thanks for sharing your knowledge as well as some of the ANSI guidelines. I had a recent client ask me for a quote on a removal which was less than 20ft from a utility pole. The pole had a single hot wire on top (unsure voltage) and the tree canopy was above the wire but also leaned over it. The main branch was physically about 5ft from the wire.

I told him immediately that I was underqualified and to contact the utility and ask them to cut those few branches and call me back. They came but never cut them, which that didnt surprise me because it would have been an aggressive prune for that line voltage. Also the tree was not compromised and likely a low risk to the line anyhow. I thought about giving him a high bid so he would turn me down but then I remembered the sound of corona on the 345kV lines at my day job and knew the right answer was still the first one I gave.
 
Last edited:

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
That noise is called "corona". Its the surrounding air becoming ionized and discharging like static. It's common on high voltage and especially audible on >100kV.

Good read here gents and thanks for sharing your knowledge as well as some of the ANSI guidelines. I had a recent client ask me for a quote on a removal which was less than 20ft from a utility pole. The pole had a single hot wire on top (unsure voltage) and the tree canopy was above the wire but also leaned over it. The main branch was physically about 5ft from the wire.

I told him immediately that I was underqualified and to contact the utility and ask them to cut those few branches and call me back. They came but never cut them, which that didnt suprise me because it would have been an agressive prunr for that line voltage. Also the tree was not compromised and likely a low risk to the line anyhow. I thought about giving him a high bid so he would turn me down but then I remembered the sound of corona on the 345kV lines at my day job and knew the right answe was still the first one I gave.
I'm certainly not trying to talk anyone into working around wires, but in my experience if you call the utility company and say you need it cut back for a removal, then they will get pretty aggressive with it. As you said that'd be an aggressive prune, but a prune wasn't the end goal. If that cut was all that was needed to be able to do the job, then it's often how the request is relayed that makes it happen.


I had a job this past year with 3 maples removal that I asked for a few limbs to be trimmed, similar situation that you described. Mentioned it's a removal and came back to find each tree completely removed apart from 15' high trunks. Turned a long day of working near wires on a hill to a 1/2 day of cleanup and a couple of easy fells.
 

Marshy

Member
Location
North East
I'm certainly not trying to talk anyone into working around wires, but in my experience if you call the utility company and say you need it cut back for a removal, then they will get pretty aggressive with it. As you said that'd be an aggressive prune, but a prune wasn't the end goal. If that cut was all that was needed to be able to do the job, then it's often how the request is relayed that makes it happen.


I had a job this past year with 3 maples removal that I asked for a few limbs to be trimmed, similar situation that you described. Mentioned it's a removal and came back to find each tree completely removed apart from 15' high trunks. Turned a long day of working near wires on a hill to a 1/2 day of cleanup and a couple of easy fells.
Thank you, I will remember that. I may even call the utility myself to discuss with them. They would probably appreciate it if I provoded a pole number too.
 

Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
Pole numbers always help as long as the number provided matches the utility you are calling. In my area often times the telecommunications number is vertical and ours is horizontal. The telecommunications numbers don’t show up in our mapping. I’m sure that varies across the globe just an example from my specific service area.
 

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