Tree Trimming

Here at SVEC we understand the important benefits that trees add to our community: they provide beauty, shade, and enhance the environment. Although they are a beautiful addition to our landscapes, trees can cause many problems with the electrical system.

Trees and limbs that come into contact with the electric lines, either from growing under the lines or from the side, can cause electrical outages.  Trees that come into contact with electrical lines also have the potential to become energized therefore pose a safety hazard.  In addition to growth, dead trees or those with defects can fall breaking lines and poles. 

In our efforts to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, SVEC has established an aggressive tree trimming maintenance program that trims approximately 500 miles of line per year.  During the maintenance program we trim all limbs away from the lines, remove brush growing under the lines and remove any trees posing hazards.  Our trimming practices have been established by the International Society of Arboriculture and American National Standard A300.  Our trimming methods have been designed to direct growth away from the electrical lines.  SVEC will make reasonable efforts to notify you in advance before tree trimming or herbicide spraying will take place.  The exceptions to our notification policy are during storm emergencies or following outages.  In these instances SVEC’s goal is to take actions necessary to either restore electric service or keep further outages from occurring in the timeliest fashion.

Tree Planting GuideWe would like your help keeping the lights on.  What this means is before you plant a new tree consider how big the tree will be when it is mature.  Will the tree reach the electric lines in height or width?  If it will, choose another species or plant it back far enough so that the longest limb will not come within 20 feet of the electric lines. We would also like to encourage you not to plant shrub or flowers under the lines because when access to the lines is needed, it makes it more difficult for our employees and contractors.

Some neighborhoods in our service area have underground electric lines.  This means they come with transformers - a large green box - sitting on the ground.  When our service people need to access these they need adequate room to work safely, therefore we ask that you not plant anything within 10 feet of underground transformers.

For help in choosing species and planting advice visit or your favorite nursery.  Remember to have all underground utilities marked before planting or digging for any reason by calling TN One Call at 811 or 1-800-351-1111.

If you would like to have a tree evaluated by our arborist please call your local office.


Electricity, Trees and Your Safety

  • Parents and caregivers please do not let children climb trees near electric lines
  • NEVER touch or go near a tree or limb that is caught on a line, even if you believe it is not energized
  • Do not cut or trim large branches from a tree that is near power lines without first consulting SVEC