Over the past few weeks, Ohio AEP has been clearing trees, branches and brush from around electrical facilities that provide power to homes and businesses.
AEP has hired Asplundh Tree Expert Co. to do the trimming, which is to prevent power outages and interference from large branches, said Shelly Clark of AEP Ohio corporate communication.
"During an ice storm in 2005, there was a lot of tree damage in the area that could've been avoided if, basically, trimming had been done," she said. "Costumers did not want the trimming done, so we left the area and moved on to a different area. A lot of that could've been avoided if we did the cycle route trimming."
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Gene Logan stands in front of his tree, which recently had been trimmed by AEP.
Back in 2009, AEP started the aggressive tree-trimming program, which is a four-year cycle to remove vegetation around power lines.
The program was put into place to prevent power outages. It also can help reduce the duration of on outage, Clark said.
Before the aggressive tree-trimming program, AEP would conduct "spot trimming," which means they would trim in places that received a higher frequency of power outages, Clark said.
"We have the right of way, we have an easement that we are allowed to trim," she said. "When it comes to dealing with the customer, we try and make a compromise. We have a legal right to trim the right of way."
Clark said property owners are notified before work is scheduled. She said AEP sends out a planner to patrol the areas and determine what work needs to be done.
AEP follows the standards of the International Society of Arboriculture, American National Standards Institute and the National Arborist Association, she said.
Tiffin resident Gene Logan, who has lived in his home on South Washington Street for about 20 years, said he is unhappy with the way his trees were cut.
"Boy, they skinned it so bad, I'm going to be burning up this summer," he said.
Logan said an Asplundh employee told him his tree was trimmed more because it is a maple tree, and they grow about 6 feet a year. Logan said if the tree grew 6 feet per year, the branches would have hit his house by now.
According to AEP Ohio's website, each tree is trimmed differently, and guidelines are followed when trimming to ensure the health and growth of the tree.
"If they would've did what they said on the pamphlet, I would still have about 12 feet of tree, but I don't," he said.
According to its website, AEP tries to "strike a balance between service reliability and respect for the natural landscape."