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As of: 12:54 PM, 10/20/20

Planting Tips and Tree Health

How to Plant Smart


How close you should plant tall and medium sized trees around power lines

Look up before you plant

Look for overhead electric lines before you plant. Do not plant within the 30’ maintenance zone (see the illustration above).

Plant Away from Underground Transformers

Use this illustration as a guide for planting away from underground electric padmount transformers. Planting away from transformers ensures they are accessible for inspection, maintenance, or repair.

How close you should plant around underground transformers

Additional Planting Tips:

  • Do not plant on the curb lawn without local municipality approval.
  • Do not plant any vines near utility poles or guy wires.
  • Consult a local tree nursery before planting to determine the height and spread the tree may grow in your area.
  • Click here to contact Miss Dig or call 8-1-1.
  • Looking for more information about tree planting? Click here.

Damaging Tree Diseases and Insects


Our Forestry team monitors new insect and disease outbreaks that may affect trees on your property and tailors line-clearing practices to minimize the spread of unwanted insects and disease. The following insects and disease are currently affecting line-clearing activities:

Emerald ash borer, invasive species and destroyer of ash forests



Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) killed most ash trees throughout the lower peninsula. Dead ash trees continue to fall on powerlines throughout the state and are expected to do so for the next several years. Dead ash trees are not safe to climb, so removal of these trees along powerlines can only be done when bucket trucks can access them. When performing scheduled maintenance tree clearing, we identify dead ash trees within 35 feet of our electric LVD primary voltage lines for removal if the trees are accessible to aerial lift trucks.



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Evidence of infestation of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid



Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) is a small scale-like insect that transmits disease to hemlock trees, ultimately killing them. State quarantine requirements restrict the movement of hemlock wood and debris from properties in affected areas. Wood and debris clean-up following line-clearing operations in these areas is subject to State of Michigan quarantine rules.



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Evidence of Beach Bark Disease 

Beech Bark Disease

Beech Bark Disease (BBD) is transmitted to beech trees from the beech scale, a very small insect that feeds on beech trees. The disease ultimately kills the trees. The movement of beech wood and debris from properties in infested areas is to be avoid to slow the spread of this insect/disease combination. Wood and debris clean-up following line-clearing operations in these areas will be left on-site.



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Oak tree with Oak Wilt



Oak Wilt Disease

Oak Wilt Disease (OWD) affects all oak trees but is most serious for red and black oaks, as the disease can kill the tree within a couple of months after infection. White oak trees are more resilient to the disease and often only a few branches may die after years of infection. To protect Michigan’s oak trees, Consumers Energy follows the guidelines established by the Michigan Oak Wilt Coalition. The Coalition is made up of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and MSU Researchers, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, International Society of Arboriculture-Michigan, and private arborist and specialists. These guidelines are reviewed several times a year with the best available science and updated as needed.



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Evidence of Heterobasidion Root Disease



Heterobasidion Root Disease

Heterobasidion Root Disease (HRD) is a native, soil-borne fungus that invades the roots of trees. Red, White and Jack pine plantations can be vulnerable to the disease when thinning cuts are conducted. If the fungus is present in the plantation, it can infect the fresh cut stumps and the disease can spread throughout the plantation. Stumps can be treated with a borax product (very similar to the laundry aid - 20 Mule Team Borax) to stop the disease from establishing itself on these stumps.



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Potentially Harmful Diseases and Insects Yet to be Detected in Michigan


Be on the lookout for the Spotted Lantern Fly, an invasive species dangerous to Michigan trees and fruit

Spotted Lantern Fly

The Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) is our most recent imported invasive species and is currently infesting parts of eastern Pennsylvania. This pest affects many trees and fruiting crops such as grapes and fruit trees. SLF is capable of causing great economic harm to Michigan agriculture and Consumers Energy’s line-clearing contractors are looking for it each year to report suspect locations to MDARD.



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The tree-killing invasive Asian Longhorn Beetle



Asian Longhorn Beetle

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was the first tree-killing invasive insect covered widely by the news media. Outbreaks of this beetle were reported in New York and Chicago. Chicago has eradicated this pest and New York is continuing efforts. An outbreak occurred in southern Ohio several years ago, and we continue to monitor its spread as Ohio goes through eradication efforts. Consumers Energy works with our line-clearing contractors to look for signs of this invasive pest to report suspected locations to the MDARD.



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Be on the lookout for invasive Bark Beetles, which infest and kill conifer trees.



Bark Beetles

Several species of native bark beetles infest and kill conifer trees in small areas or hotspots every year. Typically, these trees are under stress from drought or another underlying condition. However, many new invasive bark beetles have entered the US and Michigan recently and could have huge impacts on many species of trees. In particular, the mountain pine beetle has devastated millions of acres of forests in the western US is moving eastward. More frequent outbreaks of bark beetle infestations are expected over the coming years if the mountain pine beetle is spread to Michigan.



Thousand Cankers Disease is a fungal disease spread by beetles to walnut trees.



Thousand Cankers Disease

Thousand Canker Disease (TCD) is a fungal disease spread by several species of beetles to walnut trees. The disease ultimately kills walnut trees. Currently the disease is located in southern Indiana, and Consumers Energy works with our line-clearing contractors to look for signs of this invasive disease to report suspected locations to the MDARD



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Contact Our Tree Management Team


If you have non-emergency questions regarding Consumers Energy’s Forestry Operations or electric line clearing activities, please complete the information below and click “submit” to send us the form electronically. Fields marked with an asterisk ( *) are required. Please allow 5-7 business days for the request to be processed and response from our Forestry Team.

Important: This form should not be used to report emergencies such as arcing/sparking wires, trees/branches on electric lines, or any other matters that require immediate response. Please call 800-477-5050 for all emergency situations.