Right-of-Way Clearing

Clearing trees to keep you safe and your service reliable.

That’s the reason we have a right-of-way clearing program – because downed trees and branches are a safety hazard to our members and are the most frequent cause of power outages. Trees adjacent to Mid-Carolina’s rights-of-way must be pruned and clear of the power lines so we can provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity.

Our Program

Right-of-Way Clearing for New Lines
We clear trees and vegetation from new rights-of-way prior to performing line construction. Our crews meet Mid-Carolina’s engineering and operations specifications, as well as national standards.

Right-of-Way Clearing Maintenance
Our tree crews re-clear Mid-Carolina rights-of-way on a continuing basis. We spray herbicide, as well as perform re-clearing, to help prevent undergrowth of vegetation and extend our re-clearing cycle. Vegetation management cycles help reduce tree-related outages and expedite service restoration during storms or inclement weather.

What We Clear and Why
The two most important reasons for tree pruning and keeping clear rights-of-way are member safety and service reliability. Trees must be pruned to prevent contact between power lines and tree limbs, reducing the constant threat of tree-related power outages. Trees near power lines are a safety hazard and must also be removed or pruned on a regular basis to prevent children from climbing them and coming in contact with the lines. We prune limbs hanging across power lines to lessen the possibility of them falling on the power lines during inclement weather, resulting in extensive outages and damage. Trees that grow too close to power lines can sway during inclement weather and touch the lines, creating a serious fire and safety hazard along with power outages.

Mid-Carolina will use its phone notification system to contact each member on the circuit prior to re-clearing. The notification will be sent to the primary contact phone number associated with the account. However, notification isn’t always possible when tree crews are working on outages, emergencies or the cutting of dangerous trees.

Dead and Danger Trees
Trees that are severely leaning, dead, decayed or otherwise hazardous to power lines are classified as danger trees. Mid-Carolina will cut danger trees outside of the easement that pose a threat to our power lines. In improved areas such as yards, the dead and danger trees will be cut down, cut up into manageable lengths, left on-site, and the limbs will be chipped and hauled away. In unimproved and/or wooded areas, danger trees will be cut down and left as is on-site. Mid-Carolina will not clean up, remove or haul away any dead tree debris due to excessive cost of disposal.

Tree Removal

You can make specific requests for tree removal by contacting us at (803) 749-6400 or (888) 813-8000. We’ll evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to refuse to cut or remove any tree which, in our judgment, poses little or no threat to our lines or that can be safely cut or removed by a private tree company with no damage to the power lines.

Service Wires and Outdoor Lights

Mid-Carolina’s vegetation clearing crews will prune limbs to maintain adequate clearance around the service wire to your meter during our re-clearing cycle. They also will prune limbs to maintain adequate clearance around the service wire to Mid-Carolina’s leased outdoor lights. Pruning limbs for outdoor light pattern or to improve light output is the responsibility of the member. Service wires will only be cleared of small branches not large limbs or trees over the service wires.

If you, or a private tree company hired by you, feel it is unsafe to work close to the service wire or to cut or remove trees next to it, please call Mid-Carolina to schedule a crew to disconnect your electric service and re-install it after the tree work is complete. There is no charge for this service if performed during regular business hours.

Debris Disposal

Branches and brush debris from re-clearing activities in improved areas, such as yards and lawns, will be chipped, cleaned up and hauled away. Large limbs and wood will be cut in firewood lengths and left on-site.

Material from our chipping operation is available to our members at no charge. If you would like to have chips for mulch or compost, it’s best to ask the vegetation clearing crews when they are working in your area. You can also obtain chips by contacting our Vegetation Management Coordinator at (803) 749-6400, (888) 813-8000 or memberservices@mcecoop.com. We deliver the chips by truckload in "as is" condition to the closest areas where the crews are working. Small amounts are not delivered.

If crews are working in an area where no requests for chips have been made, chipped material will be spread in our easement and mowed as a means of disposal.

Branches and brush debris that are pruned and left in unimproved areas, such as woods and areas not maintained by the property owner, will be mowed and left on-site. Branches, wood and brush debris generated as a result of storms and storm restoration will not be cleaned up by Mid-Carolina.

Clearance Specifications

In all situations, trees near primary lines should be pruned before they actually touch the power lines. Enough clearance must be obtained so the trees don’t grow back into the lines before the vegetation maintenance crews make the cycle to prune them again.

  • Line Clearances: The minimum clearance for three phase, two phase, single phase primary lines, and open wire secondaries (uninsulated wires) is 10 feet from the wire on each side. Maintaining clearance on primary lines helps reduce tree-related outages during inclement weather and storms. The preferred minimum clearance is three feet on each side of all service drops and secondary wires (insulated wires). The 10' horizontal minimum clearance will be maintained from "ground to sky" on all three phase lines. Effort will be made to eliminate all trees, tree parts and growth points beneath the wires and all weak, diseased and dead limbs above the wires which may fall or blow into the wires.
  • Transformer Clearances: The green box in your yard contains an underground service transformer. Never enclose it or block it with fencing, shrubs or anything else with less than a 10-foot-wide gate or opening because regardless of weather conditions, our linemen and servicemen need to get outages fixed quickly and safely. Maintain these clearance minimums around your transformer:
    • 4′ on the back
    • 4′ on each side
    • 10′on the front

If these clearances aren’t maintained, Mid-Carolina may need to remove obstructions. Please do not replace them.


There’s enough voltage inside the green transformer box to kill a person. Before you dig anywhere near one, call 811 for PUPS, a free line-locating service.