General Information FAQ

General Information – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a utility easement?
Why does RMU have to trim trees?
Do I have to trim the trees around overhead lines in my back yard?
Does RMU remove trees after a storm?
I am about to start landscaping and fencing my yard, do I need to do anything before digging?



What is a Utility Easement?

A utility easement grants the right to install and access utilities on the property of another. A utility easement can be for overhead or underground power lines, water mains, or other facilities in your area.  In all cases, the land upon which an easement is granted remains the owner’s property.

Types of Easements

RMU generally uses two types of easements. Following is a brief description of each easement type as it pertains to RMU and the potential use of that easement.

a. Platted/Dedicated Easements: Platted/Dedicated easements are provided to RMU by virtue of dedication statement on the recorded plat.

b. Customer granted easements: These easements are granted to RMU by the Customer. This is generally used for distribution in areas that do not have easements platted.

General Restrictions of Easements/Rights-of-Way

For safety reasons, it is necessary that easements and right-of-way grades not be changed by excavation or filling without prior written approval of RMU. Full cost of any alteration or relocation will be the responsibility of the Customer requesting the change.

It is permissible to install fencing and landscaping on easements, except where such fences prevent access to RMU electric and/or water lines, or conflict with RMU equipment. Please contact RMU if you have any questions regarding the installation of fences on the utility easements. Other permanent buildings and structures cannot be placed in easements.

In the event RMU removes a fence to gain access to RMU equipment, it shall be the Customer’s responsibility to replace/repair the fence

Permanent structures cannot be constructed on utility easements.

Call Missouri One-Call at 1-800-DIG-RITE (800-344-7483) prior to digging.

Trees should be planted far enough away from RMU equipment that at maturity, root systems and tree canopies will not obstruct the operation of the electric and/or water system.

Responsibility for upkeep and any landscaping maintenance in an easement is the responsibility of the Customer.

Why does RMU have to trim trees?

Trees are one of the major causes of power outages. When a tree limb comes in contact with an energized power line it results in a “short circuit”. This may be an instantaneous operation where the lights blink for just a moment and you have to reset all your digital clocks, or it can result in an outage where several customers or even several streets are without power. Tree limbs also provide pathways for squirrels to gain access to the transformers and other facilities on our poles resulting in another major cause of outages.

Do I have to trim the trees around overhead lines in my back yard?

Although trees add much to the beauty of our neighborhoods, they can cause a safety hazard or needlessly disrupt electric service if the tree or any branches are too close to power lines. When an ice or wind storm hits, tree limbs that normally do not interfere with power lines are the culprits that pull electric lines, service drops and meter boxes from houses.

Clearing the service drops from the power pole to each individual house is the home owner’s responsibility. For the safety of our customers RMU recommends not attempting to trim trees near service drops on your own. Customers with tree branches overhanging their own service drop should contact a qualified tree trimming contractor.

During the normal tree trimming cycle, RMU may visually inspect the customer service drops. If clearing the service drop is required and if the overhanging limbs can be reached from the ground, RMU crews may prune them at that time. If the overhanging limbs cannot be pruned from the ground, the the homeowner is responsible for getting these limbs pruned by a qualified contractor.

RMU has the obligation to trim trees located on, or overhanging public right-of-way and utility easements, to the extent that such trimming is connected with the maintenance of electric lines or other electrical equipment. RMU trims and/or removes trees in city-owned right-of-way and utility easements to ensure the safety of our community and the continuance of electric service to our customers.

When RMU clears the lines, we will use national norms for tree trimming and trim for a three to five year growth cycle that is species-specific for the kinds of trees that are in the public right-of-way or utility easement. Fast-growing softwood trees will be cut back more than slow-growing hardwood trees.

Does RMU remove trees after a storm?

As a result of storms, strong winds, snow and ice storms, trees and tree limbs often are damaged, threatening overhead electric lines that may result in service interruptions.

To prevent further service interruptions and eliminate potentially dangerous situations, RMU crews respond immediately to remove any damaged trees or tree limbs from contact with the electric lines. This may involve cutting the limbs from the tree. The RMU crews place the tree limbs on the ground.

Branches, logs or other debris associated with trees damaged by storms, ice, winds or other natural circumstances are not disposed of by the RMU crews. The crews’ first priority in response to storms is to restore electric service to customers and to keep electrical facilities safe. Assisting our customers with disposal of tree debris impedes crews from responding to the large number of calls related to restoration of power or alleviation of safety concerns related to our facilities.

I am about to start landscaping and fencing my yard, do I need to do anything before digging?

Yes, before you dig you need to call Missouri One-Call to locate any underground utilities.

Please call 1-800-DIG-RITE (1.800.344.7483) 48 hours prior to any excavation. All member Utilities of Missouri One-Call are required to locate their underground facilities and indicate the type of utility using the following color code:

Red - electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
Yellow - gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or gaseous materials
Orange - communication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit
Blue - water, irrigation, and slurry lines
Green - sewers and drain lines
Pink - temporary survey markings
White - proposed excavation