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Raleigh resident outraged about tree trimming

Posted January 23, 2012

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— 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.

Garry Hoover Tree cutting outrages resident

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.

23 Comments

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  • fkhaywood Jan 24, 2012

    Go read the easementat at the local county courthouse, of you have power lines on your property. The easement is a legal document filed with the register of deeds when the power line was built. You may have to search back to the 1930's to find the document. The easement will specify the width of the easement involved, 30' for distribution lines(12,000 or 23,000 volts) and 100' or more for higher voltage lines. Do not plant trees within the easement, if you don't want them cut or trimmed. The easement give Progress Energy the RIGHT to own and maintain )trim, cut trees) a power line at that location for as long as the power line exists at that location.
    I am a rretired Senior Distrution Engineer with Progress Energy.

  • Life-goes-on. Jan 24, 2012

    Trees that are planeted in a power line easement should not be trimmed. Trimming is an ongoing waste of money, they should be cut. Period.

  • kermit60 Jan 24, 2012

    Sounds like they are hiring any company with a chain saw. They don't know who did it? Are you kidding, somebody is paying the company and knows where the check went. Had this happen to me a few years ago, no warning. They just showed up and started cutting what they thought could of, might of caused a problem. Never could get an answer how a 20ft tree was going to cause problems for lines that were 60ft high.

  • Not_Time_Yet Jan 24, 2012

    "I'd be upset too, especially given the fact they were planted to commemorate his daughter's birth. Sounds like they have poorly trained "horticulturists" on the prowl."

    How to keep a commemorative tree from being trimmed by the power company,..

    DON'T PLANT IT UNDER THE POWER LINES because it is going to grow,..

  • freedomrings Jan 24, 2012

    I'd be upset too, especially given the fact they were planted to commemorate his daughter's birth. Sounds like they have poorly trained "horticulturists" on the prowl.

  • chowder Jan 24, 2012

    Every Earth Day I go out into my yard and rip out 20 small pine and sweet gum trees. Darn things grow like weeds.

  • fayncmike Jan 24, 2012

    "To Gary Hoover: Go hug your trees somewhere else, drink your Starbucks, stop whining and get over it! It's a tree for god sakes. Nobody cares when you planted it. There are literally billions of others. Trust me, you'll live.
    citizensoldier16"

    What a kind and caring post, filled with the milk of human kindness. I'm quite happy that there are no above ground wires of any sort where I live so no need to worry about tree trimming. However if anyone ever came on my property and damaged any of the trees that I've planted and nurtured for years without contacting me first, the fur would fly.

  • MonkeyFace Jan 24, 2012

    Pine trees, yes I can see why they need to be cut down, but a cherry tree? I guess if it was too close to the lines then ok. But I would have to agree about being upset that they just left the limbs/trees in some ones yard. arent they supposed to discard them when they are done cutting?

  • citizensoldier16 Jan 23, 2012

    To Gary Hoover: Go hug your trees somewhere else, drink your Starbucks, stop whining and get over it! It's a tree for god sakes. Nobody cares when you planted it. There are literally billions of others. Trust me, you'll live.

  • Titus Pullo Jan 23, 2012

    Wah. wah. wah.

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