Why does Hydro Ottawa trim trees?

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.

Who’s responsible for tree trimming?

Hydro Ottawa is responsible for keeping our overhead power lines (primary supply) free from trees and other vegetation such as vines.

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 require maintenance on trees that reside on city-owned property, call 3-1-1.

How will Hydro Ottawa contact me if they plan to trim a tree on my property?

Hydro Ottawa will provide you with advance notice of tree trimming on your property or in your neighbourhood during our regular tree trimming program. 

Information is provided in the form of a hand-delivered notice to your home or telephone notification. You will also receive notification if a planned power outage is required. Please note that advance notification of a power interruption is not always possible during an emergency or hazardous situation.

If Hydro Ottawa trims a tree on my property, will I be charged for this service?

You will not be charged for any tree trimming that is performed by Hydro Ottawa within Hydro Ottawa's three meter clearance area. You are responsible for any costs associated with the removal or pruning of trees on your property outside of Hydro Ottawa's three meter clearance area. Hydro Ottawa can provide a free quote for the completion of this work if you contact our Forestry Team at 613-738-6400

If the tree resides on city-owned property, you should call 3-1-1.

Who will clear the area of all the tree trimming debris?

It depends.

Hydro Ottawa trims trees on a regular basis throughout the city. If we trim a tree on your property as part of our regular tree trimming program, our contractors will remove all the wood and debris from the job site. 

You are responsible for the wood and debris from any other form of tree trimming, such as work related to storm damage or a customer request.

Can I use the wood chips for my garden?

Unfortunately, we aren’t permitted to give customers any remnants of the tree or wood chips.

Can you recommend someone to trim my trees?

We can't make recommendations. However, the website for the International Society of Arboriculture has a search feature to help locate arborists who work in your area.

Does Hydro Ottawa offer tree planting advice?

Hydro Ottawa does have a Tree Planting Advice brochure available.

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