Raleigh resident outraged about tree trimming
Posted January 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man said tree trimmers working for Progress Energy went too far last week when they took a chainsaw to his cherry tree and cut down three others.
Garry Hoover planted the trees several years ago, when his daughter was born. He said the trimmers cut a big part out of one cherry tree and chopped down three pine trees, leaving the branches on his neighbor's property.
Progress Energy typically hires contractors to keep trees trimmed along its 70,000 miles of power lines. Downed trees and limbs are the main cause of power outages, company officials say.
Hoover complained about the work to Progress Energy, which sent both a forester and an arborist to inspect the work.
"The three pines they cut over there, the arborist said there was absolutely no reason those should have been cut," Hoover said.
Hoover said he is angry because the workers cut too much and no one warned him they were coming.
"Communication's the thing. I just want to come in here with somebody and say, 'What are we going to do, and how are we going to do it?'" Hoover said.
Progress Energy spokesman Mike Hughes said he did not have the specifics about Hoover's case, but noted that homeowners should always get a heads-up about tree trimming.
"We do expect all our contractors to communicate with customers. We don't want it to be a surprise to folks," Hughes said.
Hughes said trimming trees around power lines isn't popular, but it's an important way to prevent outages.
Hoover says he understands, but he wishes someone had told him before it happened.
"It's maddening. You can't sleep," Hoover said.
Progress Energy could not identify the contractor who trimmed Hoover's trees, saying that they use many different companies.
On Monday afternoon, a third person Progress Energy forester visited Hoover's home and agreed that the cherry tree had been improperly cut, but could not say if the pine trees were properly removed. Hoover said the forester was concerned about whether the cherry tree would live.
Progress Energy has offered to replace the tree with a new one that will grow to the proper size in about 10 years.
Hoover said he will likely elect to leave the cut tree and see how it grows over the next couple of years.
Progress Energy is sending a crew to remove the debris the contractors threw into the neighbor's yard, Hoover said.
Hughes said people with concerns about upcoming tree trimming work should call the customer service line at 919-508-5400 to talk with a forester before the work begins.
Earlier this month, state regulators said Progress Energy was giving customers conflicting information about what trees are allowed near power lines.
A federal mandate approved in 2003 after massive blackouts in the Northeast tells power companies to keep plants away from transmission lines. The companies can face major fines if trees and shrubs cause outages. The mandate allows companies to remove the types of trees that usually grow to more than 12 feet when mature.