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Tree Trimming: What you need to know about our program and how to spot problem trees

May 19 2016, 11:11 AM

Tree Trimming: What you need to know about our program and how to spot problem trees

NB Power’s certified arborists and tree maintenance contractors work hard year round to keep NB Power’s lines clear of trees and branches that threaten the reliability of our system and your safety.

We work with certified tree maintenance contractors from across New Brunswick to complete this planned maintenance work around power lines.

To reduce the impacts of major storms on our infrastructure, we’re focusing our efforts this year on tree maintenance along high voltage power lines near urban centres.

Similar to how we prioritize power restoration after a major storm, we plan our tree maintenance with a focus on the larger power distribution areas first. If a main line has an issue with a tree, the sidelines will be impacted as well, which will leave many more people without power during a major storm.

We’ve tasked 13 certified tree contractors to cut and prune problem trees and shrubs along lines in the areas that have experienced more frequent tree-related power interruptions over the past year.  

Since New Brunswick is heavily forested, our contractors need to work as efficiently as possible to ensure we can keep on top of tree growth before it becomes a problem. Keeping the crews focused on our scheduled maintenance plan is also essential to keeping costs associated with unplanned interruptions from this work at a minimum. 

When we receive a customer request for tree removal, these crews must take their focus off this scheduled work to remove trees from the customer’s property if the request meets our requirements.

Before contacting NB Power to have an assessment of your problem tree, please consider the following criteria, which will save time for you and our crews.

Identifying a problem tree

  1. First and foremost, is the tree on your property? If not, the property owner will have to contact us to inquire about the tree.
  2. Is the tree close to a power line?
  3. Is the tree uprooted or leaning more than 30 degrees toward the line? 
  4. Is the power line scorching any part of the tree?
  5. Is the tree dead? (There would be no leaves or needles or reddish/brown needles)

To determine if your tree is diseased or dying, look for the following:

  • discoloured blotches or dead areas on the leaves
  • dead branches
  • insects borrowing into the trunk
  • break / split in the tree
  • noticeable hole in the trunk
  • missing bark on the trunk

Under the customer requested program, NB Power does not remove or maintain any type of vegetation that is not a risk to power reliability.  

Keep an eye on the lines

There are 2 types of power lines that you will see near your property that belong to NB Power. If your tree is leaning near the lines that are highest up- this is a primary wire, which is high voltage and very dangerous.

The line closer to the ground is a service wire, and it carries medium voltage electricity to your home.

Any tree maintenance required near these lines should only be performed either by NB Power or an authorized contractor. Never attempt to cut or prune these trees yourself.  

40% of customer calls to NB Power result in deferrals to the regular preventative maintenance schedule or cancellations due to the above criteria not being met.

Contractors hired to complete the tree work on NB Power’s behalf are fully qualified to safely cut trees around power lines. This type of work requires a specialized skill set and should never be completed by someone who is not qualified to work around electrical lines. These contractors include:


Coughlan Tree Service



Fundy Tree Trimming



Démonteur D'arbres du Nord-Ouest /NorthWest Tree Trimming



Asplundh Tree Service



Hanna's Contracting and Tree Service



NorthEast Tree Trimming



Maritime Tree Trimming






Desjardins Tree Trimming

Grand Falls/Edmundston


Wildwood Tree Service



Laforest n Sons

Grand Falls/Miramichi


Travelling Seed Care






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