Storms and wind can cause trees to fall or branches to bend or break into electrical wires. Since trees are a potential conductor of electricity, trees that are touching an energized wire could cause electrocution. In addition, limbs, even small ones, that grow into and touch a high voltage electric line could cause a short circuit, electrical outage or fire. If branches are too close to high-voltage lines, an electric arc or flash between the two can cause an outage or fire.
If you see trees or branches that have come into contact with power lines, please report the situation to MGE by calling (608) 252-7111. Do not attempt to remove the tree branch or limbs close to power lines on your own.
MGE pruning process
MGE contracts with Hooper Corp. to regularly prune trees that are close to electric lines to keep you safe and to keep our electric service reliable. Pruning is supervised by MGE ISA certified arborists. In general, we follow these guidelines:
- Trees along a circuit or group of circuits are pruned every four to five growing seasons. The circuits don't necessarily follow a specific street or neighborhood.
- The amount of pruning depends on the growth rate of the tree species and the location of the electric line.
- We'll check the electric service line and prune only small branches that prevent the wire from hanging freely.
- We follow International Society of Arboriculture, American National A300 Pruning Standards.
- Oak trees are pruned in dormant season, generally between November 1 and April 1, when there is little danger of oak wilt infection.
- We chip and haul away brush and small branches, leaving larger pieces for your use as firewood.
Before pruning your existing trees and landscaping, be sure to put safety first. Wear eye, ear and head protection. And don't work alone – especially when pruning large branches. If branches are within 10 feet of utility lines, can't be reached from the ground or are too large or decayed to manage easily, you should contact us to determine if it is safe for you to remove. For your safety, we may recommend an arborist or a professional to complete this work.
We will leave a card on your door before our pruning crews arrive in your neighborhood. A forester will determine the extent of the pruning needed. If it is significant, we'll contact you to discuss options. If we must remove a tree, we will ask for your permission.
Please call MGE Customer Service at (608) 252-7222 if you have questions or concerns about our tree work. Our ISA Certified Arborist will respond.