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Be safe as you celebrate National Arbor Day

By Staff | Apr 20, 2009

Tree branches and palm fronds are among the most common causes of power outages and flickers, but this Friday, April 24, Floridians can celebrate National Arbor Day safely by following Florida Power & Light’s simple “Right Tree Right Place” tips.

By making educated landscaping choices, customers can help keep their families and neighbors safe and allow FPL to provide reliable service to their homes and neighborhoods.

“Florida Power & Light is committed to protecting our fragile, beautiful environment and providing reliable electric service every day,” said Irene White, FPL’s director of distribution, customer communications. “In the peak of planting season, Arbor Day serves as a great opportunity for us to encourage our customers to think before they plant to help ensure reliability and safety for all.”

“Right Tree, Right Place” Tips:

Find the Right Tree – Trees come in many shapes and sizes, and often change dramatically over their lifetime. Before selecting a tree, FPL recommends its customers determine how tall, wide and deep the tree will be at maturity. Florida residents are encouraged to visit www.fpl.com/trees for a list of recommended trees by region.

Choose the Right Place – People plant trees to create shade, block unpleasant views or simply to beautify their homes, businesses and neighborhoods. If a tree or plant is not planted in a safe place away from power lines, it can interfere with electric reliability for the tree owner and the surrounding neighborhood as it grows. Before selecting where to plant, FPL encourages its customers to consider whether the mature tree or plant will impact existing power lines.

Call Before You Dig – What you can’t see can hurt you, so before you reach for a shovel, reach for the phone. Not all utility lines are above you. Did you know that Sunshine State One Call of Florida offers free marking of underground lines and equipment? Just call 811 at least two business days before you start digging, and they’ll come out to your house and clearly mark the location of all underground utilities. You can also submit your request online at www.CallSunshine.com.

Don’t Prune Near Power – FPL cautions its customers to never attempt to prune any vegetation growing near or on overhead power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. Check your local listings to locate a contractor qualified to trim vegetation around power lines. Before work begins, be sure to verify that the contractor is licensed and insured, and complies with all applicable laws, codes, ordinances and/or permits.

As storm season approaches, it is increasingly important that FPL customers keep these tips in mind. Even a minor storm can damage trees and other vegetation, resulting in outages if the trees are not planted in the right place.

“While there’s no such thing as a 100 percent weather-proof electrical system, we’re working every day to strengthen our system’s reliability, including clearing vegetation around power lines to avoid outages caused by overgrowth,” White added. “Customers can help in this effort by inspecting their own yards for potentially disruptive trees and plants.”

A long time supporter of preserving, protecting and enhancing the environment, FPL is a Tree Line USA utility, designated by The National Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree Line USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with State Foresters and recognizes utilities that meet the requirements of quality tree care practices, annual worker training, tree planting, and public education programs.

Source: FPL