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BC Hydro warns of neighbour bickering, trees and power line problems

Twelve per cent of British Columbians dislike their neighbour's ugly balcony or yard decor.
Broken tree leaning on power line
A rainstorm brought down trees on a power line on Bowen Island.

BC Hydro is warning the public that trimming vegetation near overhead power lines or electrical equipment can pose a risk of injury. 

“New BC Hydro data shows during the spring there is typically an increase in ‘backyard logging’ incidents, with many taking trimmers into their own hands to scale back neighbour’s unruly vegetation — which can be dangerous if close to electrical equipment,” said a new BC Hydro report released April 28.

“Customers should call a certified utility arborist for any vegetation near transmission or distribution lines, or for vegetation within three metres of the service line to their home,” BC Hydro advises.

Tree trimming was among the most common backyard electrical incidents, with branches falling on power lines and causing power outages in many cases, noted the report.

The survey found common neighbour annoyances include:

  • noise (65 per cent);
  • parking (34 per cent);
  • not respecting property boundaries (23 per cent);
  • ugly decor on a balcony or yard (12 per cent); and,
  • garbage and recycling issues (12 per cent).

Moreover, many have problems with their neighbours’ lack of vegetation maintenance, with more than 20 per cent reporting they have noticed their neighbours' trees or bushes are overgrown; of those, 22 per cent noted they are growing into or too close to power lines or electrical equipment.

Of those who noticed trees or bushes are too close to electrical lines and equipment, 57 per cent asked their neighbours to do something about it and almost half of those neighbours acted to fix the problem.

For the 52 per cent whose neighbours did not address the dangers, 18 per cent reported it to their strata, 27 per cent reported to ‘proper authorities,’ and 27 per cent went ahead and trimmed the vegetation themselves.

However, the report said trimming vegetation can be dangerous. Four per cent said they had a close call or made contact with electrical equipment. Meanwhile, 71 per cent are unaware of the basic vital safety rules for performing work in their yards near electrical equipment.

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