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Tree cutting

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JustRandy

Member
What is the name of your state? Georgia

Last fall the power company (presumably) cut my large (over 10ft circumference) Willow Oak tree too far back from the power lines. In addition, they made the cuts in all the wrong places according to an ISA certified arborist I hired today. His opinion was it must have been a group of illegal mexican immigrants that did the work (because the power company usually knows better than that).

Furthermore, I have a decent size White Oak tree that is prized for its nice round shape and is the tree that coined the term "Mighty Oak". It is a very slow growing tree and can live nearly 1000 years. Those guys hacked the tree in the same fashion as the willow oak and very needlessly in my opinion.

1) Should (can) I take legal action against the power company?

2) Would there be enough money involved to make it worth any lawyer's time?

3) In the sea of lawyers in the phonebook, where would I find a lawyer to represent me?

Thanks
Randy
 


seniorjudge

Senior Member
Randy, before you do anything, have someone (an expert) give you an estimate of the damage.

It may just be a small claims case.

Another thought:

http://www.psc.state.ga.us/

If the utility is a public utility, you could file a complaint with the PSC. Some commissions allow money damages to be awarded; some do not. Contact the commission for more information.

BUT before you do anything, take the expert's estimate to the utility company and ask them if they would like to reimburse you.

Be nice.
 

JustRandy

Member
Thank you seniorjudge!

I'll do like you suggested and call the arborist back on Monday for an estimate and then take the estimate with pics to the power company (although I'm not sure how one would put a price on damage to a tree.... Its not like one can put the branches back on for a fee :) ).

I'm not sure what you mean by "public utility". :confused: My power company is a cooperative of TVA called North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (NGEMC). I've been all through the websites of TVA and NGEMC. TVA says they can do anything they want 75 feet across and then some, but I think they are talking about their 500KV lines. NGEMC doesn't mention tree trimming.

However, another power company south of me called Georgia Power says on their site, "Georgia Power prunes trees to industry standards that were developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). These methods involve pruning to lateral branches and directional trimming to remove limbs at strong branches or at the tree trunk. By making the proper cuts, we do not interfere with the tree's natural defense mechanisms that protect it from decay. Also, this method of pruning removes branches at their natural shedding points, which reduces re-growth." This was clearly not done on my trees.

They also say, "We make an effort to notify property owners in person before any work is done. If no one is at home, a door-hanger will be left on your main entry door with the projected date for pruning and a contact number. " I never knew until it was over. :mad:

In any event, these same pratices should still apply throughout Georgia regardless of the company. http://www.gvmaweb.com/bmp_mech.htm
 

LindaP777

Senior Member
You need to do your homework first before you file a lawsuit against anyone. 20 years ago my husband was a "tree-trimmer" for our local electric company. I know for a fact around here the electric company has a "utility easement" so many feet back from the road. They will trim trees back from their power lines and even more to allow for 3-4 years growth (so they only have to trim every 3-4 years).

It could very well be they had every right to trim the tree as they saw fit to clear their lines. They trim for safety & longevity of the power lines, not for the health or for beauty of the tree.

Please people, before you plant a tree look up! If there are power lines, move it back at least 20 feet!
 
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JustRandy

Member
I still don't see why they had to trim it wrong! Now its going to watersprout out and grow even more vigorously towards the lines. :mad: You can't just cut a tree anywhere you please.... You have to know what you're doing. Furthermore, they should have given me some warning when they intended to cut.

Its a tough call on which came first, the tree or the lines (since the tree is about 80 yrs old).
 

LindaP777

Senior Member
Its a tough call on which came first, the tree or the lines (since the tree is about 80 yrs old).
Doesn't matter if there was an easement. How would you expect the power company to get electric to your house, if area trees were never trimmed?

And, when trees are trimmed, often a "tree tar" is used to prevent new sprouting at the cut.
 

TheGeekess

Keeper of the Kraken
I still don't see why they had to trim it wrong! Now its going to watersprout out and grow even more vigorously towards the lines. :mad: You can't just cut a tree anywhere you please.... You have to know what you're doing. Furthermore, they should have given me some warning when they intended to cut.
Would you rather them have cut your power off? :rolleyes:
 

JustRandy

Member
Doesn't matter if there was an easement. How would you expect the power company to get electric to your house, if area trees were never trimmed?
I'm not contesting the fact that they have a right and need to trim trees. But they should trim trees properly and to ISA standards.... Not hack them like butchers! Furthermore, they don't have the right to trim trees that are no where near the lines. They can't just trim any tree in my yard that they take a fancy to.

And, when trees are trimmed, often a "tree tar" is used to prevent new sprouting at the cut.
Uh,,, NO. Tree tar is never used to stop new sprouting. First of all, tree tar is no longer recommended by the ISA (or anyone else in the business). The current recommendation is to leave the cut open. Secondly, tree tar would have no effect of the watersprouting anyway. The only thing that will stop watersprouting is trimming back to a lateral. And thirdly, the power company would never go thru the time and expense of applying tar to each and every cut.
 
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