Powerline and Pole Safety

Clearing Brush for safe delivery of energy

Our pole brush program is a year-round effort to remove brush from the base of wood poles supporting power lines that may cause fires.

Poles with certain equipment such as fuses, switches, arrestors, and certain connectors are required to have a firebreak of ten feet or more in each direction.

The program also includes clearing around transmission line structure.

This fire prevention program is mandated by laws enforced by Cal Fire.

Three steps to clearing brush

State law requires that subject poles be clear of vegetation all year. SDG&E has a three-tiered program to assure that the poles remain in compliance.

  • Herbicides
    From November through February vegetation around poles is cleared and treated with a safe herbicide to prevent re-growth.

  • Mechanical Brushing
    From March through June, vegetation around subject poles that were not treated with herbicides are mechanically cleared.

  • Mechanical Re-clearing
    All poles that are not treated with herbicides are visited again during July through October for re-clearing.

Exemptions to clearing wood poles

There are some exemptions to clearing around poles. If the vegetation around the pole is watered with fixed irrigation, and/or maintained such as a lawn, or a garden, the pole does not require a firebreak.

More Information

Call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-411-7343

  • Utility Pole Inspection and Maintenance

    Regular wood utility pole inspections are conducted to test the safety and integrity of power poles.  Utility pole inspections are mandated by  CPUC General Order 165.

    All poles are given a visual above-ground inspection

    All poles are given a visual above-ground inspection, which includes sounding techniques to identify interior defects. Poles are drilled at a 45 degree angle to check for interior voids caused by insects or decay.  The number of drilled holes depends on the height and class of the pole. After inspection, each hole is plugged to prevent the entry of insects or corrosives.

    Poles older than 15 years of age undergo a more extensive inspection.  They are excavated to check for oxygen and water corrosion.