CenterPoint EnergyElectric Transmission and Distribution
Transmission Line Vegetation Management

Transmission lines carry 69,000, 138,000 or 345,000 volts of electricity. To maintain a predictable, low-growing vegetation environment within our transmission line corridors, CenterPoint Energy follows these practices:

  • We require greater distance between vegetation and transmission lines because of the higher voltages and greater movement of conductors in transmission lines. If a tree makes contact with a transmission line, hazardous electric current is injected into the ground that can travel across local underground cables and pipes causing severe damage to public and private property. An outage on a transmission line can impact 100,000 customers or more.

  • Rights-of-way are cleared of all tall-growing species during the construction of a transmission line and thereafter. Trees within the right-of-way are removed and branches that hang into the right-of-way are side-trimmed.

  • The right to remove trees and other vegetation is typically included in standard transmission easement purchase agreements.

  • Where transmission lines cross or run along streets within the street right-of-way, CenterPoint Energy will discuss concerns with the city, county or state forester and follow his or her recommendation (trim only, remove, or remove and replant the area with approved species).

  • We inspect and maintain our transmission rights-of-way on a five-year cycle: 20 percent of the circuits/lines have trees removed and/or trimmed annually.

  • We make an annual aerial inspection of the rights-of-way to identify trees that are dead, dying or are compromised (e.g. root erosion near creeks) such that they may fall into an adjacent transmission line. Since such trees are usually located outside the right-of-way, we attempt to obtain landowner permission to remove these trees before they fall.

CenterPoint Energy's transmission line clearance standard has proven effective: we have not experienced any recent major transmission incidents related to trees or vegetation within our rights-of-way.

Plant the right tree in the right place