mybaycity.mmcctech.net November 18, 2012
Community Article 07576


Consumers Energy is raising many questions with its line clearance tree removal now underway in Bay County.

TREE CUTTING QUESTIONS: Consumers Energy Line Clearance Work Controversial

November 18, 2012
By: Dave Rogers


Consumers Energy is raising many questions with its line clearance tree removal now underway in Bay County.

Jon Hall, communications director of forestry operations for Consumers Energy, has told the media the company works hard to establish communication with all involved.

One of the biggest issues is the large sections of trees left for the homeowner to remove.

Another frequently asked question:

Is there any charge for your line maintenance tree trimming work?

CONSUMERS' ANSWER: "The tree trimming done by Consumers Energy to provide clearance for our electric lines is included in our normal rates. Our Private Tree Service Program is offered for other customer-requested trimming. For more information, or to get an estimate, call (800) 582-4238, or complete our tree trimming bid form."

"These conflicts with wires and trees are happening all over the state and mostly where inappropriate species are being planted near overhead wires," he said during a Flint Township subdivision dispute a few years ago.

He urged homeowners to research www.arborday.org for advice on planting the right tree in the proper place.

Installing wires underground would cause more damage than overhead lines, he said.

Trees would be removed, as would lines when needing repairs, and trenches would be dug in lawns. Trees can't be planted over the underground lines because root systems can damage them. He said people think there are fewer outages with underground lines, but that's not so.

Ash trees in Michigan are being infested by an invasive insect species called the Emerald Ash Borer. This bug has killed millions of ash trees in the Lower Peninsula and there seems no hope to stop it. Once an ash tree dies it will stand for up to three years then fall to the ground, usually in one piece, with the potential to cause severe property damage and injury.

We strongly recommend that you have Consumers Energy, or another qualified tree removal company, remove the tree(s) as soon as possible. Contact the number on the card you received to have Consumers Energy provide a bid.

There are safety issues, too. If a homeowner is digging with a metal shovel and hits a gas line, it hisses and smells. With a power line, there is no warning. "It's fatal," Hall said.

He said the chunks of wood left behind are cut to a size that can be handled and that most people want the wood.

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