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Ohio Edison will spend $1.5M trimming trees

Ohio Edison will spend $1.5 million trimming trees in the Clark County area this year, with another $2 million set aside in case of storms.

Ohio Edison, which serves more than 60,000 customers in Clark County, cuts trees to maintain proper clearances throughout its service areas to reduce any tree-related outages.

Company spokesman Tim Suter said the company designates areas on four-year cycles to work on.

“It’s to keep trees away from the lines so that when big winds come up, lightning and everything else, (the trees) are far back enough to prevent them from taking the wires down,” he said.

The company also budgets additional money in case of major storms. However, when trees come down during a storm, it’s up to the resident or local government to remove the trees. During the normal tree trimming program, Ohio Edison takes care of tree removal.

Suter said the company follows standards set by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

“It’s tough. We understand there are big emotional issues with property owners (in regards to trees), so we try to follow standards,” Suter said. “We hire contractors to do this that use pretty strict standards.”

But some residents still think the work isn’t done properly.

Ohio Edison trimmed trees on Verona Avenue on Friday, and not to resident Sandra Yates’ liking.

“It looks terrible. They just cut the middle of the tree out and didn’t cut the rest of it,” Yates said. “I wouldn’t know why they couldn’t just cut all the way around.”

Companies such as Ohio Edison must submit tree trimming programs to the Public Utilities Commission for approval. Spokesman Jason Gilham said the commission does not have a set standard for tree trimming, but makes sure the tree trimming will be done at a high standard before approving.

PUCO does keep a customer call center where people can call and complain if the work is not done to high enough standards.

“We have inspectors go out and take pictures and make sure that what the company said they’d do would be followed,” he said.

PUCO has not had any policies or rule changes, but Gilham acknowledged that some companies may be more rigorous in taking care of trees after the windstorms of the last few years.

Gilham said more complaints tend to be filed after storms. He said there were more complaints in the northeastern part of the state during Hurricane Sandy or with the severe storms last June and July.

Ohio Edison will work on five local areas this year. Since the beginning of the year, the company has been clearing trees from the area north of Columbus Road and between U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.

The next area, which will be worked on through June, is in the Medway area. Afterward, Ohio Edison will trim trees north of Ohio 334 and beyond Moorefield Road.

In September, the company will trim trees on Villa Road between U.S. 68 to Ohio 4, as well as from south of Villa Road to Ohio 334.

In late fall, early winter, Ohio Edison will take care of trees west of Mad River along U.S. 40.

Ohio Edison will spend more than $20 million over 6,200 miles in 2013 maintaining tree clearances across the state, including Springfield, Warren, Youngstown, Elyria, Akron and more.

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