Change List for this Rule


General Order 95


Section III


Requirements for All Lines


35    Vegetation Management


Where overhead conductors traverse trees and vegetation, safety and reliability of service demand that certain vegetation management activities be performed in order to establish necessary and reasonable clearances the minimum clearances set forth in Table 1, Cases 13 and 14, measured between line conductors and vegetation under normal conditions, shall be maintained. (Also see Appendix E for tree trimming guidelines.)  These requirements apply to all overhead electrical supply and communication facilities that are covered by this General Order, including facilities on lands owned and maintained by California state and local agencies.


When a supply or communication company has actual knowledge, obtained either through normal operating practices or notification to the company, that dead, rotten or diseased trees or dead, rotten or diseased portions of otherwise healthy trees overhang or lean toward and may fall into a span of supply or communication lines, said trees or portions thereof should be removed.


Communication and electric supply circuits, energized at 750 volts or less, including their service drops, should be kept clear of vegetation in new construction and when circuits are reconstructed or repaired, whenever practicable.  When a supply or communication company has actual knowledge, obtained either through normal operating practices or notification to the company, that its circuit energized at 750 volts or less shows strain or evidences abrasion from vegetation contact, the condition shall be corrected by reducing conductor tension, rearranging or replacing the conductor, pruning the vegetation, or placing mechanical protection on the conductor(s). For the purpose of this rule, abrasion is defined as damage to the insulation resulting from the friction between the vegetation and conductor.  Scuffing or polishing of the insulation or covering is not considered abrasion.  Strain on a conductor is present when vegetation contact significantly compromises the structural integrity of supply or communication facilities.  Contact between vegetation and conductors, in and of itself, does not constitute a nonconformance with the rule.


Note:    Revised January 13, 2006 by Decision No. 05-01-030, August 20, 2009 by Decision No. 09-08-029 and January 12, 2012 by Decision No. 12-01-032




(1)    Rule 35 requirements do not apply to conductors, or aerial cable that complies with Rule 57.4-C, energized at less than 60,000 volts, where trimming or removal is not practicable and the conductor is separated from the tree with suitable materials or devices to avoid conductor damage by abrasion and grounding of the circuit through the tree.

(2)    Rule 35 requirements do not apply where the supply or communication company has made a “good faith” effort to obtain permission to trim or remove vegetation but permission was refused or unobtainable.  A “good faith” effort shall consist of current documentation of a minimum of an attempted personal contact and a written communication, including documentation of mailing or delivery.  The written communication may include a statement that the company may seek to recover any costs and liabilities incurred by the company due to its inability to trim or remove vegetation.  However, this does not preclude other action or actions from demonstrating “good faith”.  If permission to trim or remove vegetation is unobtainable and requirements of exception 2 are met, the company is not compelled to comply with the requirements of exception 1.

(3)    The Commission recognizes that unusual circumstances beyond the control of the utility may result in nonconformance with the rules. In such cases, the utility may be directed by the Commission to take prompt remedial action to come into conformance, whether or not the nonconformance gives rise to penalties or is alleged to fall within permitted exceptions or phase–in requirements.

Note:    Revised November 6,1992 by Resolution No. SU–15, September 20, 1996 by Decision No. 96–09–097 and January 23, 1997 by Decision No. 97–01–044.


(4)    Mature trees whose trunks and major limbs are located more than six inches, but less than the clearance required by Table 1, Cases 13E and 14E, from primary distribution conductors are exempt from the minimum clearance requirement under this rule. The trunks and limbs to which this exemption applies shall only be those of sufficient strength and rigidity to prevent the trunk or limb from encroaching upon the six–inch minimum clearance under reasonably foreseeable local wind and weather conditions. The utility shall bear the risk of determining whether this exemption applies, and the Commission shall have final authority to determine whether the exemption applies in any specific instance, and to order that corrective action be taken in accordance with this rule, if it determines that the exemption does not apply.


Note:    Added October 22, 1997 by Decision No. 97–10–056