Why we root for tree trimming

As the shades of our trees turn from green to a burst of autumn colours, we are reminded once again how lucky we are to live in a city with such great vegetation. While it is certainly a sight to see, our team is always looking at this growth through a different lens. 

Image 01


At Hydro Ottawa, we believe that trees are an integral part of the health and enhancement of our community. When it comes to tree trimming, our goal is to only remove what is absolutely necessary for our customers. Our crews are expertly trained in proper pruning techniques and always do their best to redirect growth away from power lines, while making every effort to protect the health of the tree. However, we must achieve and comply with the required reliability standards and clearance objectives dictated to us. Sometimes this means additional measures have to be taken to ensure our equipment is safe from extreme weather conditions. This is known within our industry as “storm hardening”. By doing this work, we are able to reduce power outages by 40 per cent. The reality is that trees near overhead lines can cause fires, equipment malfunction and extended power outages when their branches come into contact with our wires. During storms, broken tree branches can bring down power lines and create a serious public safety concern. 

What is tree trimming?

Tree trimming is, you guessed it, when Hydro Ottawa crews head out into the community and clean up growth that may impact service to our customers. Since the May 21 storm, our tree trimming efforts have significantly increased. To support this, our forestry inspectors monitor and gather data about trees in proximity to overhead power lines on a regular basis. They will trim trees that are directly in contact with a power line, or within three (3) meters of a power line. In some hard hit areas, it may be necessary to trim more than the standard to keep our community safe.

What purpose does it serve?

When trees are close enough to potentially contact overhead power lines, public safety and the uninterrupted supply of electricity can be compromised. Hydro Ottawa has a responsibility to ensure its electricity distribution system is safe and that it operates reliably. We must also ensure that our equipment can withstand extreme weather events such as high winds and heavy snowfall and ice that may cause trees to become a burden.

How do we help?

There are a few ways that we as a company work to ensure that we are caring for our city’s trees in the best way possible. First, we look at opportunities to partner with organizations like Tree Canada to replenish growth across our community. In fact, in May of this year, Hydro Ottawa employees planted 300 trees at Terry Fox Park in Orléans as part of Tree Canada’s Partners in Planting program. According to Tree Canada, the site selected for the tree planting was very carefully considered. Not only will the new trees help with carbon sequestration, but they will also help prevent water runoff into a nearby stream, create habitat and provide slope stabilization. In addition, Tree Canada will be planting 1,000 saplings across the province in support of Hydro Ottawa’s carbon reduction goals.

"Our work wouldn't be possible without the support of environmentally-conscious businesses and organizations like Hydro Ottawa," says Michael Petryk, ISA certified arborist and Director of Operations at Tree Canada. "Beyond the financial commitment to greening the community their employees came out en masse to help plant trees, which demonstrates their corporate citizenship and community engagement. Thanks to dedicated community partners like Hydro Ottawa we’ve been able to plant more than 84 million trees since 1992.”

Additionally, in 2019, Hydro Ottawa began civil construction on Cambrian, its largest ever municipal transformer station, in the south-end of the city; situated on 24 acres of land. But the goal of this project is a lot more bee-utiful than just energizing the surrounding communities. Its other purpose is to transform 15 acres of it into a pollinator meadow and a four-acre reforestation area which was planted in 2020 with 2,750 trees thanks to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

Image 01


How can you help?

There are two ways that you can support tree trimming practices in your neighbourhood. First, please remember that as a property owner, you are responsible for keeping the service wires on your property (secondary supply) clear of vegetation and tree foliage. If the tree or plant on your property is:

  • Within the Hydro Ottawa clearance area: Do not attempt to trim it yourself. Only contractors approved by Hydro Ottawa can work within three meters of an overhead powerline. Submit your tree trimming request online.
  • Outside the Hydro Ottawa clearance area: You can perform your own pruning as long as you keep yourself, your equipment and all parts of the tree at least three meters away from the power line. 
  • Near the service wire that feeds electricity directly to your home: You are responsible for monitoring and trimming vegetation around wires providing electricity directly to your house. In such cases, we can arrange a temporary planned outage on your property to create a safe work environment for you or a licensed contractor. 

If you notice a tree near an overhead power line, or you need a temporary outage to trim or remove trees on your property, submit a non-electrical service request online or contact us by telephone at 613-738-6400 weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm (excluding statutory holidays).


Was this page useful container
Hidden Group

We'd like to hear from you

text and star group