PG&E's Tree Trimming in Benicia

May 31, 2020

PG&E'S Tree Trimming in Benicia

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) trims trees along power lines to comply with General Order (GO) 95, issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which requires a year-round clearance below power lines of a minimum 18 inches.  New fire safety regulations require a minimum clearance of four feet year-round for high-voltage power lines in the CPUC-designated High Fire-Threat Districts.   Benicia is not within a High Fire-Threat District.   General Order 95 may be accessed here.

Cities are preempted from regulating electric facilities. This includes specifying more restrictive requirements like the City’s Tree Ordinance (Ordinance) on tree trimming conducted to satisfy GO 95. Based on this, the City cannot require Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to get a permit for trimming trees otherwise protected by the Ordinance.

Property owners should be aware that GO 95 does not grant PG&E any new property access rights. PG&E must have a recognized property right or other approval to conduct tree trimming. These property rights could be an easement, franchise, license or other authorization. As an example, PG&E’s electric franchise allows it to access the public right-of-way.

If you have any questions regarding any tree marked for trimming or removal, please contact PG&E’s Vegetation Program Manager, Matthew McLane, at Tel. (925) 222-1461, or by email at m7mh@pge.com. Questions or concerns regarding the conduct of PG&E’s work should be directed to the CPUC's Electric Safety and Reliability Branch at (800) 755-1447, or visit CPUC’s Webpage here.

PG&E tree trimming on Trancas St

PG&E tree trimming on a Ginkgo tree on Trancas St.  in Napa.