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Trees and Power Lines

Whether sprouting from a forest floor or as part of a home's landscape, all trees and other vegetation near power lines need to be responsibly managed to ensure the safety and reliability of our electric system. Trees that tower too near lines create hazards that, left unattended, can result in a power outage, fire, or extensive damage to the distribution and transmission system.

South Dakota law, SDCL 49-34A-79, allows electric utilities to remove or alter any vegetation or other material if the utility determines it is reasonably necessary for the safe repair, use, operation, or maintenance of the utility's electric or gas transmission or distribution lines. Additionally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires electric utilities of a certain size create and implement vegetation management plans to ensure the reliability of their systems.

As homeowners and landowners, you have a responsibility to keep yourself and your property safe from real dangers that exist from trees being too close to power lines. Your responsibility extends beyond your property line, too. Branches that come in contact with power lines or storm-damaged trees that take down a line can cause power outages in your neighborhood and community.

Your utility provider has tree planting advice that minimizes potential problems with power lines. The companies also describe their vegetation management policies. Select a link to learn more.

Investor-Owned Utilities

Electric Cooperatives
The following electric cooperatives provided a link to information about their tree trimming programs to the PUC. If you are seeking information from a cooperative not listed here, consult the electric cooperatives listing for contact information.

Municipal Electric Organizations
The following municipal electric organizations provided a link to information about their tree trimming programs to the PUC. If you are seeking information from a municipal provider not listed here, consult the municipal electric organizations listing for contact information.

October 2013