Right-of-Way Maintenance

Whether you call it right-of-way maintenance, line clearance or tree trimming, the goal is the same: to ensure that power is delivered safely and reliably to the members of Southwestern Electric Cooperative. By keeping rights-of-way clear, your cooperative’s line crews are working to reduce outages and improve recovery times after storms. 

Like you, Southwestern Electric Cooperative is sensitive to the health and appearance of trees that shelter our yards and countrysides. That’s why we strive to balance the need for clean, reliable rights-of-way with the health and aesthetics of trees planted near power lines. Trimming methods can have a substantial effect on the long-term health and appearance of your trees. Improper cutting techniques can promote decay and “sucker growth”—a condition in which dozens of small limbs sprout from a single area and steal nutrients from larger, more robust limbs. 

That’s why our line-clearance crews follow methods prescribed by the National Arbor Society and use trimming techniques designed to keep our distribution system safe and reliable while protecting the health and appearance of any trees that border our right-of-way. 

Here’s how you can pitch in:

  • Help us identify potential problems. If you notice trees or limbs that may interfere with our power lines, please call the cooperative at (800) 637-8667.
  • Survey your surroundings before you trim or cut down a tree. Contact Southwestern Electric before proceeding if you believe your work might cause any part of the tree to come in contact with a power line.
  • If your tree trimming causes any part of the tree to fall into a power line, stop at once! Stay clear, keep others away from the area, and call Southwestern Electric Cooperative immediately so we can safely address the situation.
  • If you’re planning to plant trees, avoid planting them under or near power lines. Shrubs, hedges and other plants should also be kept away from utility poles.
  • Always call 811 before digging. That’s the number for the Illinois One-Call service, also known as JULIE. JULIE will provide free location and marking of underground utility lines, allowing you do dig safely. It’s simple, it saves lives, and it’s the law.


Contact the cooperative to obtain a copy of the co-op’s entire tree-trimming policy. See Section 2-C of the cooperative’s bylaws for information on the member’s responsibilities in regard to right-of-way maintenance.