SDG&E defends tree-trimming policy to residents

RANCHO SANTA FE — Several members of the community have complained about tree trimming efforts around the Ranch by San Diego Gas & Electric and its contractor, Davey Tree Service. Chipper noise and wood left behind has caused residents to complain to the Association staff. Representatives from SDG&E and the Association staff met recently to discuss the concerns of the members and, as a result, SDG&E asked to give a special presentation to the board of directors.
On April 2, Michael Daleo, Don Akau, Juanita Hayes and Carey Winston of SDG&E gave the board of directors a slide show presentation about the tree trimming process. The purpose of the tree work is to bring the vegetation into compliance with Public Utility Commission regulations, as well as to remove any potential hazard related to the trees. “We have over 400,000 trees in our database,” Daleo, the spokesperson for the group, said. “We need 10 to 12 feet of clearance from the power lines.”
According to Daleo, the huge blackout that occurred on the East Coast several years ago was traced back to power lines that had been downed by fallen tree branches. That, mixed with the fire danger that is problematic in Southern California, necessitates the aggressive trimming of trees.
Daleo said that trees cannot be removed without the signature of the customer and that SDG&E offers free tree replacement programs, giving the customer an alternative to problematic trees near power lines, such as palm trees and eucalyptus.
In addition to wood and chips left behind after the trimming, local residents have also complained about the lack of public relations/notification that tree trimming will take place.
SDG&E is hopeful the presentation is a step to remedy the situation.

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