Bexley City Council member Rick Weber said he's tired of seeing trees hacked as part of American Electric Power's trimming program.

Bexley City Council member Rick Weber said he's tired of seeing trees hacked as part of American Electric Power's trimming program.

"The argument is trees cause outages," he said. "They have a tendency in my opinion to take back more years than might be necessary."

Bexley has a history of struggling with AEP when it comes to what the company says it must do to protect power lines versus what the city would like to see in regards to the value it places on trees, Weber said.

He said he recently learned this firsthand when a contractor hired by AEP trimmed trees in his yard and the nearby alley.

"I came home one day and found my main shade tree in my backyard was butchered," he said. "My concern is they were cutting off limbs that were years and years away from affecting their lines."

Weber contacted Bexley's tree commission and AEP foresters. He hopes the sides can meet in May to determine how AEP can protect power lines while keeping Bexley's trees as esthetically pleasing as possible.

"There has to be a happy medium," Weber said.

AEP spokeswoman Vikki Michalski said the company's goal is to have a minimum 10-foot clearance on either side of electric lines.

"Trees are the biggest causes of power outages and reliability issues for our customers," she said. "One tree can (cause) outages (for) thousands of customers."

Michalski said not all trees pose a threat to power lines.

"There are some smaller species that wouldn't be a problem," she said. "We can help educate (customers) as to the proper type of vegetation that wouldn't interfere."

For more information on AEP's tree trimming and reliability program, log on to www.aepohio.com/news/reliability/.

City forester Mark Moore accompanies AEP when it trims trees in Bexley and tries "to make sure they are trimmed properly." He said city officials "have always recommended not leaving stubs and making good prune cuts."

Moore also said the city's partnership with AEP has improved to the point where the company has returned to make corrective cuts. The city also has tried to educate residents about the proper places to plant trees so, for example, a 50-foot tree won't interfere with a 25-foot-high power line, Moore said.

Tree commission president Susan Quintenz said tree trimming has been an ongoing issue in Bexley, so the commission would be happy to meet with AEP. The commission met with AEP several years ago to discuss tree trimming on College Avenue.

"Of course their goal is to make sure no tree limbs affect electricity capacity for residents," she said of AEP.

The tree commission's goal is to make sure trees are trimmed in the most esthetically pleasing manner, Quintenz said.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com

Weber