Why Is There Wood on Some Power Lines?

Every now and then, I see wood hanging on power lines. Does it serve a function? —K.

The short answer is no. The longer answer, as eventually explained in this 2018 Washington Post article, is “wires can rub against a tree trunk or branch, wearing down the bark. As the tree grows, it grows around the wire.” And then someone cuts the wood away, leaving the part right next to the wire because he/she doesn’t want to take the risk of screwing up the wire.

After confirming all of that, a rep for Southern California Edison added out that utilities jointly own the poles, but that SCE manages them, because electricity involves the most hazards. When there are electrical lines, they’re always at the top. In this case, the electric line comes underground, up through the metal conduit attached to the pole, and continues up the hillside. The lines running parallel to the road are telecom, probably cable on top and phone below, as indicated by the coaxial splitter. He said that power lines would never be left with wood on them because, as you might expect from all the tree-trimming around here, SCE is “strict about vegetation management” as part of its wildfire mitigation efforts.

Got a question? Email [email protected] or text 917-209-6473.

Previous Burning Questions:
••• What are these black beetles that are everywhere this spring?
••• Can you explain how sundowner winds work?
••• Why is there a pressure cooker attached to this utility pole?
••• What’s this concrete ramp thing on East Beach?
••• Why does “USA” get written on the street?
••• What are those poles in the ocean near the Ritz-Carlton Bacara?
••• Are people really allowed to set fires in the middle of Montecito?
••• What’s the story with the half-finished lot next to the Montecito Country Mart? 
••• Is the bridge over San Ysidro Creek ever going to get repaired?