Vegetation Management

Trees and vegetation are the primary cause of power outages across Mid-Carolina’s system. Trees that pose a danger to our facilities, equipment or lines must be trimmed to adequate clearance or cut down. It’s how we keep our service as reliable as possible for our members.

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 contract crews meet Mid-Carolina’s right-of-way specifications, which comply with the National Electric Safety Code. Wood belongs to the property owner and is left on-site at the edge of the right-of-way. Limbs are ground up on-site. Mid-Carolina does not remove wood from the property.

Right-of-Way Re-clearing Maintenance
Our contract crews re-clear Mid-Carolina rights-of-way on a continuing basis. We use mechanical trimming methods to re-establish proper clearances and herbicides to help prevent undergrowth and extend the period between re-clearing cycles. All herbicides used by Mid-Carolina are approved by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA). Herbicides are selectively applied to target woody species and are grass friendly. These methods help us reduce outages, especially during storms or inclement weather. Mid-Carolina does not remove wood from the property.

Dead and Danger Trees
Trees that are alive but severely leaning or otherwise pose a threat to Mid-Carolina facilities or equipment are classified as danger trees. Trees that are dead or in the process of dying are classified as dead trees. In an effort to ensure reliable service for all members, Mid-Carolina cuts dead and danger trees outside of any easement that pose a threat to our power lines. In areas maintained by the property owner, such as yards, we will cut down the dead and danger trees and leave the wood on-site. Limbs will be chipped and hauled away. In unmaintained and/or wooded areas, dead and danger trees will be cut down and left as is on-site. Mid-Carolina will not clean up, remove or haul away any dead and danger tree debris due to excessive cost of disposal.

Mid-Carolina uses 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. Notifications are sent when a contractor begins work on a particular circuit, which could mean the notification is received months prior to the work being done on a member’s property. Notification is not possible when tree crews are working on outages, emergencies, or the cutting of dead and danger trees.

Vegetation Management Requests
Members can make specific requests for vegetation management by contacting Mid-Carolina at (803) 749-6400 or (888) 813-8000. We evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis. Mid-Carolina reserves the right to refuse any request that, in our judgment, poses little or no threat to our lines. Mid-Carolina does not remove any wood.

Service Wires and Outdoor Lights
Mid-Carolina’s contract crews trim limbs to maintain adequate clearance around the service wire to your meter and the service wire to Mid-Carolina’s leased outdoor lighting. Trimming limbs for outdoor lights 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 maintained areas, such as yards and lawns, will be chipped. Large limbs and wood will be cut 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 calling Mid-Carolina at (803) 749-6400 or (888) 813-8000 or emailing 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 may be spread in our easement and mowed as a means of disposal.

Branches and brush debris that are trimmed and left in unmaintained areas 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 or its contract crews.

Storm Debris – MCEC and its contractors will cut fallen trees and other storm debris to clear our lines. We will only cut what is needed to restore service and storm debris will not be cleaned up or removed from the property.

Clearance Specifications
In all situations, trees near primary lines should be trimmed before they actually touch the power lines. Enough clearance must be obtained so the trees do not cause outages and clearance is maintained until the next re-clearing cycle.

  • Line Clearances: Clearance for three-phase, two-phase, single-phase primary lines and open-wire secondaries (uninsulated wires) is a minimum of 10 feet from the wire on each side, with additional footage often required. The 10-foot horizontal minimum clearance will be maintained from “ground to sky” on all three-phase lines. Maintaining clearance on primary lines helps reduce tree-related outages during inclement weather and storms. The preferred minimum clearance is 3 feet on each side of all service drops and secondary wires (insulated wires). 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 cause outages.
  • Transformer Clearances: The green box in your yard contains an underground service transformer. Never enclose it or block it with fencing, shrubs or anything that prohibits immediate access. Maintain these clearance minimums around your transformer: 4 feet on the back, 4 feet on each side, and 10 feet on the front. (The front has the door and lock.)

If these clearances aren’t maintained, Mid-Carolina may need to remove obstructions. Please do not replace them as they cause timely delays in outage restoration.


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.