published on July 21, 2016 - 8:49 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced it has launched an expanded debris management program to support customers in 10 counties severely impacted by the state’s tree mortality emergency.

PG&E customers can request assistance in hauling away larger woody debris from their property at no cost in counties including Tulare, Fresno and Madera.

The U.S. Forest Service recently conducted a survey finding that up to 66 million trees have died in the Sierra Nevada forests. Drought as well as damage from bark beetles are to blame.

PG&E is forecasting to remove approximately 160,000 dead or dying trees in its service area this year as part of its drought emergency response program.

“Nothing is more important to PG&E than public safety. That’s why we are removing dead and dying trees near our power lines to reduce wildfire risk. The high volume of limbs and trunks on the ground are a fire hazard and impact a homeowner’s ability to use their property. This new program will help our customers stay safe and enjoy their natural surroundings,” said Eric Back, director of electric asset management, compliance and risk management for PG&E.

The expanded debris management program is available to customers with dead or dying trees impacted by drought and/or bark beetle that could contact PG&E electric facilities.

The utility only will dispose of debris that it takes down. The debris must be reasonably accessible by equipment/machinery; and debris must be within 100 feet of permanent structures or within 20 feet of serviceable roadways.

Customers who are interested in utilizing the expanded debris management program should contact PG&E at the time of inspection before it removes the tree(s), if possible, or at 1-800-743-5000.

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