In Your Yard

Safety extends beyond the electricity you use in your home. Anything involving trees, planting or digging can be dangerous as well. Be mindful of the following electrical safety information when out in your yard.

Tree Trimming

Trimming trees near electrical equipment is dangerous — it’s never a do-it-yourself job. Electricity can jump from the lines to your body, your tools or nearby branches, causing injury or even death.

If you see trees growing near our lines or facilities, request tree-care service online or call us at 888-554-4732, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. A service order will be issued, and a PEC forester will contact you and send a crew to safely clear the vegetation.

Tree Care

Branches too close to electrical equipment can cause power outages as well as fires and other dangers. We work to prevent those hazards through an active tree-care program. Our qualified specialists safely remove overgrown vegetation 10 feet from electrical lines, working through our service area on a 3-to-5-year rotation. We also take precautions to guard against property damage, unnecessary tree loss and oak wilt.

Landscaping & Planting

Important: Do not allow trees, bushes or plants of any size to grow directly under electric lines.

Wise Tree Choices 

For reliable electric service, it’s important to plant the right tree in the right place. Before planting, consider the mature size of the species you’ve selected. For example, a four-foot-tall, two-foot-wide tree planted today could end up 60 feet tall and 30 feet across when fully grown.

The Texas Forest Service recommends these trees for Central Texas:

Diagram showing safe distances of tree planting from utility poles

15 to 20 feet tall

  • American smoke tree
  • Texas or Mexican redbud
  • Desert willow

25 to 50 feet tall

  • Lacey oak
  • Mexican plum
  • Bigtooth maple

60 to 100 feet tall

  • Cedar elm
  • Bald cypress
  • Bur oak

Pad-mounted Transformers

In areas with underground electric service, do not plant shrubs or other vegetation around pad-mounted transformers or otherwise hide or block access. Obstructions near this equipment will make maintenance work hazardous and difficult for crews and may increase outage times.

Ten feet of clearance is needed in front of equipment so crews can safely open it, and five feet on each side allows easy access. Some large pad-mounted switchgears require 10 feet of clearance in the front and back.

Digging & Construction

Whether you’re building up or digging into your property, here’s how to proceed safely and legally.

  • Be aware of the power lines and service drops on and around your job site, especially if you’re using long tools (such as rakes and ladders) or operating heavy equipment.

Our hard-working lines carry a lot of electricity. Raised ladders, tools, dump truck beds, backhoe boom arms and front-end loader scoops can reach energized power lines and conduct electricity. Because power lines are not insulated, the contact can cause outages, serious injury and even electrocution.

For your safety, call us if you’re unsure about the voltage on a line, especially if you plan to operate heavy equipment in the vicinity. We’ll work with you to make your job site as safe as possible.

  • Be aware of the law.
    • If you plan to hire or use rented heavy equipment capable of vertical motion within 10 feet of electric lines, state law requires that you call us at least 48 hours in advance. We will show you how to avoid contact with power lines.
    • When planning to dig 16 inches or deeper, state law requires that you call 811 or sign in to the Texas811 Portal and submit your location at least 48 hours in advance to locate underground electric lines.
    • If these laws are not followed, you may be fined, sentenced to jail for up to one year or both.
    • You are liable for damages to PEC facilities and all the liability the cooperative incurs as a result of any contact.