Duke can do better on tree trimming

Every four to five years Asplundh Tree Expert Co.,  the tree pruning company hired by Duke Energy, comes to WNC to trim trees back from the power lines.  Duke Energy claims that “maintaining trees and vegetation along their power lines helps to ensure reliability, minimize outages and enhance safety for customers, Duke’s employees and contractors.”  They also say that “Duke hires qualified, trained tree experts to inspect and clear electric lines on its system and that their crews use industry-approved pruning techniques endorsed by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture.”

While I understand that limbs need to be trimmed back from the wires every couple of years, I am very disturbed by the way Asplundh has approached this project. They chop, top and clear the vegetation with little regard to the health of the trees or the surrounding vegetation. I don’t think the National Arbor Day Foundation or the International Society of Arboriculture would really approve of how Asplundh has trimmed these trees.

I think Duke Energy will just have to realize that it is the nature of the terrain in Western North Carolina and budget differently for power outages in our area. At a minimum, they need to look at a better way to trim the trees so that the health of the trees and the surrounding terrain is protected. Duke needs to consider putting the power lines underground in WNC, which would be a long term solution to this problem.  Maybe the underground lines could be installed in the high incident, heavily wooded areas first. I know this is an expensive project but it will pay off off the long term.

If you would like to write to Duke Energy Progress about your concerns and suggestions the names and addresses are as follows:

Jeff Corbett,
Senior VP Carolina Delivery Operation,
Duke Energy Progress,
410 South Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
Paul R. Newton
State President for North Carolina
Duke Energy Progress
410 South Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC  27601

— Ann McMartin

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