As we continue to build tomorrow’s energy grid – and develop new ways of generating and distributing safe, reliable energy – one of our main areas of focus is trimming trees across the more than 31,000 miles of overhead power lines and 1million utility poles within our electric service territory. That’s because nearly 70 percent of the time our customers spend without power is due to trees that fall on our lines. We often think of this happening during wind storms, but they can pose a risk even on sunny days if trees are damaged and/or diseased, and when they become less flexible, and in turn more brittle, during cold weather.
According to Dan Phillips, arborist, DTE Energy, Old Man Winter’s arrival in the Great Lakes State presents several obstacles for our tree-trimming teams to overcome while improving electric safety and reliability in your neighborhood. Phillips offers the following tips to customers expecting tree trimming on their properties to ensure our crews can complete work as safely and quickly as possible.
- Ensure driveways and gates are accessible. When our crew arrives at your home or business to trim trees, a driveway or parking lot obstructed by vehicles, equipment, snow, ice and/or a variety of other objects sometimes make it impossible for us to access the trees to be trimmed, and to get our equipment close enough to complete the job. If you’re expecting a tree-trimming crew at your home or business, please ensure the access point is safe and clear, and your gate is unlocked prior to our arrival. Doing so will allow us to complete your job according to schedule; accessibility issues may result in delays, and in some cases may require us to reschedule your job.
- Ensure pets remain inside. At DTE, safety is our top priority, so we ask that you ensure your dogs – and other animals – are secured while we perform our work. Our crews cannot work with unsecured animals present, so it’s important our furry friends are kept in a safe place while we trim your trees.
- If possible, clear the area beneath your trees. In preparation for winter, the cells of many trees get rid of their fluid content, which makes tree tissue more likely to snap than bend (like it does during warmer weather). During this dehydrated state, the likelihood of falling branches and limbs also increases. As a safety precaution, our teams secure all limbs we may come into contact with, but we recommend you move anything that can be moved (e.g., plastic playhouses and dog houses) prior to us beginning work. If you have heavier semi-permanent structures in the area, no worries, we’ll work around them.
Interested in learning how – and why – we trim trees? Click here to learn more.