Distribution Vegetation Management FAQS | About Energy | Mississippi Power | A Southern Company

Distribution Vegetation Management FAQs

Why does Mississippi Power prune trees?

Mississippi Power clears lines to keep branches and other vegetation from interfering with our electric lines and equipment. When tree branches contact a power line, they can cause an electric service interruption or a power outage.

How does Mississippi Power have the right to access my property?

Mississippi Power has a duty and obligation to maintain the electric facilities to provide safe and reliable electric service, as well as the right to ingress and egress private property. The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) sets the rules by which Mississippi Power is allowed to operate. These rules are set forth in the RULES GOVERNING ELECTRIC SERVICE for Mississippi Power.

The Rules Governing Electric Service specify provisions allowing Mississippi Power access to our facilities on private property for purpose of maintaining service to our customers. Preventing vegetation from contacting our energized conductors plays a large part in maintaining safe and reliable service. Our vegetation crews must, and will, respect private property and will leave it in the same condition as when they arrived.

How much will be removed from my trees?

Our contractors are trained to look at and consider such things as: tree species, growth rates, tree health, and the relative location to the power lines involved before pruning. We may remove entire branches that are growing toward the lines, or branches that, when cut, would re-sprout and grow toward the lines. Branches growing away from power lines are usually not removed.

In order to prevent vegetation re-growth from contacting our facilities during the cycle, Mississippi Power’s standard clearance is 15 feet from the centerline of the circuit to the pruned vegetation. This is a standard clearance widely used by many other electric utilities.

How often is tree pruning performed?

Mississippi Power’s strategy to maintain power lines is based on a consistent, planned pruning cycle. These cycles can vary depending on tree species and growth rates. Typically, the main lines are addressed on an average of 3½ to 4 years.

Is pruning healthy for the tree?

Any time a tree is wounded, the tree is placed under stress. Mississippi Power uses a technique called “directional pruning,” which can reduce the stress placed upon a tree. This technique is encouraged by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture and does not interfere with the tree’s ability to seal wounds, allowing the tree’s natural defense system to discourage pests and decay.

Will you shape my tree?

No. The crews are directed to prune for clearance around the company’s electric facilities only. They will attempt to directionally prune branches to redirect future growth away from power lines.

How will I know when vegetation management crews will be in my neighborhood?

Approximately, 1-2 weeks before our pruning contractor moves into a new area, postcards are sent out to customers notifying them of pruning operations in the near future. If trees or vegetation on your property does require removal or pruning away from power lines, a contractor representative will contact you in person or will leave a door card one to four days before work is scheduled to begin.

Are vegetation management personnel trained and professional?

Yes. In accordance with OSHA, they are qualified utility line clearance vegetation management workers. Only personnel with these qualifications can legally work within 10 feet of utility lines.. Mississippi Power also employs registered foresters, certified arborists and utility specialists.

Our vegetation management work practices utilize industry standards for pruning and are in accordance with the latest editions of the Tree Care Industry Association ANSI A300 Standards.

  • National Electric Safety Code
  • ANSI A300 Standard for Tree Care Operations
  • ISA publication “Best Management Practices – UTILITY PRUNING OF TREES”
  • ANSI Z133.1Safety Standard
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1910 and other applicable OSHA laws

Is there a charge for this service?

There are no additional charges. If you are approached by an agent of Mississippi Power requesting compensation, please contact our customer service center at 1-800-532-1502.

Can the crews prune other trees while they are here?

No. Crews are instructed to clear only those parts of trees which are/may interfere with Mississippi Power’s electric facilities. Please do not ask them to prune any other trees on your property.

Can I prune my trees myself?

Customers should not attempt to prune any vegetation growing near or on any overhead power line. Only specially-trained line clearing professionals should work around power lines.

Does Mississippi Power remove the debris pruned from the tree?

When pruning is done as part of our scheduled maintenance program, debris is moved to the curb and the debris is removed by specialty crews, usually within the same week it was placed. However, debris generated during storm restoration will not be removed.

When is tree removal the best option?

Some trees require pruning more often than others to maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines. If it is determined that pruning cannot satisfactorily meet the needs of maintaining the facilities, removing the tree is recommended.

What kind of trees can I plant near power lines?

Always consider the mature height and spread of the tree to ensure suitable space is available. This will help avoid future conflicts between trees and power lines. See your local nursery or refer to the Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place brochure.

A tree is touching the power lines and “sparking.” Who do I call?

If you see a tree touching power lines and sparking or any other hazardous tree condition, contact Mississippi Power at 1-800-532-1502 to report the condition.