Vegetation & Pest Management

Vegetation Managment

Scheduled Vegetation Management

For safety reasons, there are occasions when Nelson Hydro must trim vegetation to avoid close contact with powerlines.  Sometimes these activities require power outages and are kept to a minimum and communicated in advance to minimize customer impact. 

Keep an eye out for sandwich boards on the street, notices through social media, or crews knocking on your door to notify you of upcoming vegetation and tree trimming. You can also sign-up up for automatic alerts on your cell phone.

Click on the image below to see a map of active Scheduled Vegetation Management.

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Vegetation Management

Nelson Hydro owns and operates approximately 24 km of transmission lines and 300 km of distribution lines throughout the mountainous terrain of the West Kootenays. This provides electrical service to over 11,000 metered customers within its Service Territory. 

The lakes, mountains and trees are part of the beauty of the Kootenay’s and it is hard to imagine our community without trees. When trees or branches come into contact with power lines, it can cause problems. Tree contact or trees growing too close to powerlines can create a public safety hazard, may cause interruption of electric service, and can pose a safety threat to Power Line Technicians as they operate and maintain electrical equipment.

Vegetation Management along Nelson Hydro rights-of-way ensures the safety of employees, the public, and reduces the risk of outages and fires. Nelson Hydro has a 5-Year Vegetation Management Plan to manage the vegetation within its utility corridors to industry standards. The creation of the Vegetation Management Best Practices provides efficient and effective procedures in order to protect the public, infrastructure and values relative to Nelson Hydro transmission and distribution lines while at the same time respecting the environment we all appreciate.

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Nelson Hydro is responsible for and will clear vegetation growth around all primary high-voltage power lines. This work can only be safely done by qualified professional electrical workers or arborists certified to work in close proximity to high voltage power lines and should not be attempted by others. When danger trees are located on privately owned and crown land, Nelson Hydro contacts the owners and seeks consent using the Vegetation Management Consent Record Form. This consultation practice follows the Public Engagement Framework.

Nelson Hydro does not clear tree growth around customers' electrical wires that supply service to customer buildings or poles unless there is a serious electrical hazard. Nelson Hydro recommends that customers hire a qualified arborist to do this work. If homeowners wish to prune or remove their own trees, Nelson Hydro can lower and de-energize the electric service wires to allow the work to be done safely, and then reconnect the line when the work is finished. In most cases, there is no charge for this service by Nelson Hydro.

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Power lines that are broken or knocked down by trees or branches can often still be energized, and these energized or ‘live’ wires can kill. Never approach downed power lines or attempt to remove trees touching a power line. Stay at least 10 meters away. Call Nelson Hydro immediately at 1-877-324-9376 and qualified electrical workers will respond.

Hydro Tree 1

Pest Management

The presence of pests in and around electrical assets can adversely impact structural integrity which threatens workers and public safety and can compromise system reliability. Causes of wood rot, out-of-control vegetation, and noxious weeds in and around Nelson Hydro-owned poles, rights-of-way, and facilities are considered pests. This includes power generating stations, switching stations, substations, wood poles, pole yards, and around concrete dams, penstocks, spillways and diversion channels.

Hydro Pole

Photo Source: Pole Saver

The purpose of Integrated Pest Management balances the need for safe and reliable operation and delivery of electric power while respecting and protecting natural environments. Nelson Hydro is in full compliance with the BC Integrated Pest Management Act through its 5-year Pest Management Plans (PMP). There are three PMPs for Nelson Hydro-owned Wood Poles, Rights-of-Way, and Facilities. PMPs contain prevention, identification, monitoring, protection and procedures for the safe use, handling, and reporting of all products used for pest management within the Nelson Hydro service territory. They also contain protocols to ensure sensitive riparian areas are respected and protected.

The current Pest Management Plans expire July 16th, 2025.