Forestry and Vegetation

Arborist safely trimming a tree from a bucket


We believe in reducing our impact on the environment and attempt to avoid trimming and removing trees whenever possible; however, trees can affect our ability to provide safe and reliable electricity. Sometimes we have to trim or remove trees that are too close to powerlines.

Regular Maintenance

Waterloo North Hydro maintains and trims trees located near utility owned power lines. We maintain and trim trees every 2 to 5 years. As part of our services, we clean up and remove the trees, branches and debris.

View our Tree Trimming Schedule to find out more about forestry work scheduled for your neighbourhood.

Safety and Reliability

Why trim trees? When a tree or branch touches or falls onto a power line, it can tear down the line causing a power outage or start a fire. Touching a downed power line can result in serious injury or even death.

Tree Trimming Services

Sometimes strong winds or storms damage trees near overhead power lines. If you need Waterloo North Hydro to trim or remove a tree that is hazardous to an overhead power line, complete the Forestry Service Call Request Form or call our Operations department at 519-888-5577.

Once the form is complete, we will arrange to see the affected tree(s) and recommend the type of work required. It is the responsibility of the tree owner to clean up and dispose any branches or debris.

Maintaining the Electrical Equipment on Your Property

If you have an overhead powerline on your property, you may own the assets. You are legally responsible to maintain the electrical equipment on your property – such as poles and overhead wires – in a safe manner and in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

This includes safely maintaining tree growth and plant material around overhead powerlines to avoid potential electrical hazards. If you’re not sure how to determine ownership of the powerlines and related equipment, contact your Local Distribution Company for more information.

Please review the Privately-Owned Powerline Assets handout to better understand your responsibilities as a property owner.

Planting Near and Around Transformers

To maintain the reliability, integrity and efficiency of the distribution system, Waterloo North Hydro has the right to have unobstructed access to electrical distribution equipment, including but not limited to padmount transformers and switchgear, on private and public property at all times for inspection, repairs and maintenance.

If you are considering planting shrubbery around a pad-mounted transformer (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines), please note the need to keep as much open space as possible so hydro crews can access the  transformer for maintenance and repairs. Property owners are encouraged not to plant any vegetation other than turf grasses within 3.65 metres of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located.) as a clearance of 3 metres is required at all times on this side of the transformer.  Labels, like the one below asre placed on all padmount transformers clearly illustrate the working clearances required around the equipment.

Safety Label for WNH transformers that alerts customers of danger

If there is a transformer on or near your property line, please note the following safety tips:

  • Always call Ontario One Call at least 7 business days before you plan to dig at 1-800-400-2255 or visit them on the web at One of their representatives will come out to locate and identify existing buried conductors around the transformer.
  • Keep all shrubs, fences and other permanent structures at least 3 metres from the front and 1 metre from the back and sides of the transformer.
  • Don't plant trees near pad-mounted transformers! A tree's large root system could lift the concrete pad and potentially create a power outage.
  • Select plants that are slow growing and easy to maintain. Avoid using plants with thorns, such as barberry, blackberry, hawthorne or roses.
  • Location numbers and/or company locks must be visible at all times.
  • Don't allow plants to overgrow the transformer. Valuable equipment can overheat and become damaged, possibly causing a power interruption.
  • Don't plant vines or ivy, which can attach to and potentially damage the transformer.
  • Don't place dirt, wood chips or snow against any portion of the transformer - this could also cause it to overheat and/or rust prematurely.
  • Don't change grade levels around the pad-mounted transformer for a distance of 1.8 metres out from the cement base of the transformer.

For more information and guidelines visit the Electrical Safety Authority website.