Tree management

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Tree Management

Map of proposed tree trimming

Transmission scheduled trimming for 2023 will be located in the following counties: Hampton, Beaufort, Jasper, Berkeley, Georgetown, Dorchester, Lancaster, Fairfield, Williamsburg, Florence, Marion, Sumter and Orangeburg.

Tree management is a vital tool that is used by Santee Cooper's Right of Way Management department to ensure public and employee safety and reliability of transmission lines. Santee Cooper must maintain the full boundary widths of the rights of way from “ground to sky” and must ensure that trees, limbs and wooded encroachment maintain appropriate clearances from the electrical lines, which are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Additionally, Santee Cooper is responsible for the removal of “hazard trees” at a greater distance which can be characterized as dead, dying, diseased, leaning or damaged trees and “danger trees,” which is any tree that has the potential to cause damage to the power line which would result in a power interruption. Our tree management practices include:

  • Aerial operations – topping of trees or trimming of limbs and trees growing into the rights of way that may endanger the transmission line with a helicopter.
  • Ground operations – trimming of limbs, removal of trees and removal of wooded encroachment along the rights of way boundaries, or hazard trees at a greater distance that may potentially endanger the transmission line with bucket trucks, Jarraff, shinn cutter, etc.

Santee Cooper uses contracted tree specialists that have years of experience in the business of utility arboriculture. These activities can be very dangerous and only qualified personnel who have been trained to operate within the Minimum Vegetation Clearance Distance (MVCD) should perform any work near the transmission line. The MVCD differentiates by the operating voltage of the transmission line, so if you are unsure, please contact a Tree Management employee within Santee Cooper Right of Way Management to discuss. 

Before planting any forest vegetation, be certain to review Permissible/Non-Permissible Guidelines and contact a Tree Management employee in Santee Cooper Right of Way Management to discuss locations. 

For additional information, please submit any questions to

Frequently Asked Questions

Ground Floor management is typically on a 30-36-month schedule, which allows Santee Cooper to stay in compliance with all federal regulations and provides the ability to create a cost-effective schedule. Tree management is generally conducted every 6-10 years, except on certain lines with off-set positioning, which also allows us to maintain compliance with federal regulation and create a cost-effective schedule.

Unlike some utilities that have direct billing with each property owner’s information that a line come into contact with, Santee Cooper’s rights of way are comprised of a multitude of easements. These easements are perpetual in that they change hands from property owner to property owner over numerous years. Additionally, some Tree Management operations are emergency responses that must be addressed immediately to ensure safety and reliability of the transmission lines.

Distribution Tree Trimming

Tree limbs can cause unnecessary power outages when they contact distribution power lines. As part of our commitment to the environment, Santee Cooper performs tree trimming and vegetation control to protect the health of individual trees, redirect growth away from the power lines, and encourage plant and wildlife biodiversity. Take a close look at the power lines that serve your home or business. If you notice tree limbs that are touching the power lines, you can report them by calling 800-804-7424, option “4” to be connected with a customer service representative.

Residential Tree Trimming