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I'm looking for some advice. I'm an out of town landlord and yesterday my tenant called me to let me know that the power company was there yesterday, and they dropped off a notice that they are going to be cutting down a couple of my trees. One of them is an old tree and the other one is younger. I don't want them to cut down anything. What are my options here? Anybody deal with anything like this? Also, if they do end up cutting down my trees, can I at least get compensated in some way for it?




Edit: Pictures of said trees:

http://i45.Photobucket.com/albums/f65/lgyeresi/IMG00023.jpg
http://i45.Photobucket.com/albums/f65/lgyeresi/IMG00024.jpg
http://i45.Photobucket.com/albums/f65/lgyeresi/IMG00025.jpg

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All the trees can be trimmed imo.

nycll (Feb. 05, 2010 @ 7:54p) |

i've known people to put up a big stink in the washroom

bigcat007 (Feb. 05, 2010 @ 8:39p) |

They can do anything to those trees they want from cut to remove.

The guys out there are just doing there jobs. It rea... (more)

patch96 (Feb. 05, 2010 @ 8:52p) |

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lgyeresi said: I'm looking for some advice. I'm an out of town landlord and yesterday my tenant called me to let me know that the power company was there yesterday, and they dropped off a notice that they are going to be cutting down a couple of my trees. One of them is an old tree and the other one is younger. I don't want them to cut down anything. What are my options here? Anybody deal with anything like this? Also, if they do end up cutting down my trees, can I at least get compensated in some way for it?is this in Dallas, Tx? see this on the news all the time here.

rmhop said: lgyeresi said: I'm looking for some advice. I'm an out of town landlord and yesterday my tenant called me to let me know that the power company was there yesterday, and they dropped off a notice that they are going to be cutting down a couple of my trees. One of them is an old tree and the other one is younger. I don't want them to cut down anything. What are my options here? Anybody deal with anything like this? Also, if they do end up cutting down my trees, can I at least get compensated in some way for it?is this in Dallas, Tx? see this on the news all the time here.

No this is in Michigan

I know with my father's forrested land, they come out every so often and clear the trees so they are far enough away from the lines. The last two houses they've lived in have had the lines buried, however.

You do have a responsibility to keep the lines safe, if one of your trees was to damage them, not only is it extremely unsafe for others, it's a major inconvenice to everyone involved.

Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!

wilesmt said: You do have a responsibility to keep the lines safe, if one of your trees was to damage them, not only is it extremely unsafe for others, it's a major inconvenice to everyone involved.
I'm wondering if this "responsibility" is supported by any kind of contractual obligation, otherwise next time they may want to move your house a couple of feet...

Nothing you can do it they did it correctly.

Power Company can cut down trees planted in its easements.
The easements are the land underneath the wires and 10 feet outside the outermost wire.

There are federal standards in place for vegetation management underneath electric transmission lines, and all power companies must comply with the standards. Those standards require power companies to eliminate all power outages caused by vegetation interference to power lines.

let them do their work and no dont ask for compensation

You could ask they plant a new tree but the hassle of getting that approved is likely more than just going to the nursery

Sometimes these power companies go chain-saw happy on trees that pose no real trouble. I would put up a stink and settle for them trimming back some branches instead of taking the whole tree.

Depending on how big of stink you need to make, you can challenge their easements, injunctions, chain yourself to the tree, put up and enforce no tresspass signs, and otherwise make their lives hell.

If you put up a big stink, they might back off. YMMV

Samething happened here in 2006... Entire neighborhood stopped power company then the SAME people complained about loss of power (for up to a week). If you are around, you can watch the work and request they don't do more than they have to.

edit: wiki link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah_Eve_Wind_Storm_of_2006

in my area they cut the bare minimum of branches , they dont do one bit more than necessary

svap said: Nothing you can do it they did it correctly.

Power Company can cut down trees planted in its easements.
The easements are the land underneath the wires and 10 feet outside the outermost wire.

There are federal standards in place for vegetation management underneath electric transmission lines, and all power companies must comply with the standards. Those standards require power companies to eliminate all power outages caused by vegetation interference to power lines.


This may have been addressed at closing. I have a utility easment running through my back yard, and if any utility in that easment wants to come an to fix/repair, replace their utility, they can do so without much recourse. They dug up my garden to repair an underground 7200V feeder.

I had trees in my back yard recenty trimmed by the electric company. My only complaint is it looks bad, and the trees help block road noise. I wish they would bury the lines across the road (where there are no trees), but that is a pipe dream (and underground lines pose their own issues - see above).

SUCKISSTAPLES said: in my area they cut the bare minimum of branches , they dont do one bit more than necessary

I've seen the results of the utility in SC clearing the easements a couple of times for over a hundred acres, and I don't think they've ever taken an inch more than their right.

scrouds said: Sometimes these power companies go chain-saw happy on trees that pose no real trouble. I would put up a stink and settle for them trimming back some branches instead of taking the whole tree.

Depending on how big of stink you need to make, you can challenge their easements, injunctions, chain yourself to the tree, put up and enforce no tresspass signs, and otherwise make their lives hell.


If the OP is afraid of this, he is well within his right to bring his property into complaince by trimming the trees himself. But the part about raising a stink only makes you sound like a 5 year old baby, with no offense to the well-behaved babies out there.

Assuming that the power lines are in a proper right-of-way easement that the utility owns, the utility may be able to do whatever they please without the landowners permission (because permission was granted in the easement). But it wouldn't hurt to call the utility either.

You have a good tenant.

Power company will "hack" your trees beyond belief. Every morning I drive by a group of trees that have a big V cut right in the center of each tree.
If you really like the trees, have an arborist trim them to the power companies specs., otherwise they won't resemble trees anymore.

lindylady said: Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!

That's highly doubtful. Almost every property with power lines has a legal easement, to which the owner cannot legally block access. They can probably come onto the property and cut down any of the trees in the easement that they deem to be a danger to the lines.

Did the guy that talked to you tenant leave a business card? If he did give him a call, if you are nice you may be able to get them to go easy on your trees or specify certain parts of the trees that can be saved or removed. He will have to work within the power company's guide lines but as a general rule the crew that is doing the cutting has a fair bit of leeway in how much or little they take. If you don't talk to them they will take as much as possible, the more they take the less often they have to come out and the better off the power lines will be in the mean time.

A couple other things to think about is if you have other trees or branches that need to be trimmed or removed (within reason of course), they may be willing to do those as an act of good will. When I worked on a crew that cut trees around power lines we would often cut down extra trees or branches for home owners in exchange for being able to take down a large problematic tree.

If you can contact the person that came by the house directly you will probably have better luck with him rather than who ever you reach at the power companies main number.

drodge said: lindylady said: Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!

That's highly doubtful. Almost every property with power lines has a legal easement, to which the owner cannot legally block access. They can probably come onto the property and cut down any of the trees in the easement that they deem to be a danger to the lines.
Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance?

In my area, when the public utility removes trees, they will replant something more suitable. It never hurts to ask. YMMV.

Shock them with a lawsuit in Cuban courts.

t60 said: Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance? They sometimes try to contact you out of courtesy but even if there WASNT a power pole on your property, most power companies can and do send people onto your property without your permission (meter reading, maintenance etc). happens all the time here in the bay area, PG&E can go wherever it wants

SUCKISSTAPLES said: t60 said: Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance? They sometimes try to contact you out of courtesy but even if there WASNT a power pole on your property, most power companies can and do send people onto your property without your permission (meter reading, maintenance etc). happens all the time here in the bay area, PG&E can go wherever it wants

I wonder if someone could deny them access without permission except in certain emergencies...

Sigh.

Think about it this way: an easement is the dominant estate, your ownership of the property is servient to all easements. The utility company (or water company, or sewer company, or gas company) can do anything necessary to the purpose of the easement and you can't bar them reasonable access. Depending on state law, you may be able to ask them for notice or if it's routine/non-emergency ask them to fit your schedule, but you have to let them on your property.

All easements should have been disclosed when you bought the property. If they weren't you might have a title insurance claim.

chimeer said: Did the guy that talked to you tenant leave a business card? If he did give him a call, if you are nice you may be able to get them to go easy on your trees or specify certain parts of the trees that can be saved or removed. He will have to work within the power company's guide lines but as a general rule the crew that is doing the cutting has a fair bit of leeway in how much or little they take. If you don't talk to them they will take as much as possible, the more they take the less often they have to come out and the better off the power lines will be in the mean time.

A couple other things to think about is if you have other trees or branches that need to be trimmed or removed (within reason of course), they may be willing to do those as an act of good will. When I worked on a crew that cut trees around power lines we would often cut down extra trees or branches for home owners in exchange for being able to take down a large problematic tree.

If you can contact the person that came by the house directly you will probably have better luck with him rather than who ever you reach at the power companies main number.


That's great if you can get ahold of the crew. I would also suggest that if they work with you to your satisfaction, a tip would be in order.

drieendertig said: SUCKISSTAPLES said: t60 said: Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance? They sometimes try to contact you out of courtesy but even if there WASNT a power pole on your property, most power companies can and do send people onto your property without your permission (meter reading, maintenance etc). happens all the time here in the bay area, PG&E can go wherever it wants

I wonder if someone could deny them access without permission except in certain emergencies...


It depends on the state laws what they can and can't do, but in most places they can access power lines with zero notice or approval. I happen to own one properly with a very large transmission line that runs through one corner of the properly. Here in VA, I can't deny them access and they can freely come in and out whenever they want. In my case there is seperate access, so it's not an issue. There was an advance notice in the disclosure that outlined that, so I knew well in advance. At any rate, there is always going to be a provision in the law that allows the power company to maintain lines. Trimming trees is part of that, and I highly doubt that you can stop them.

Somewhere on here there was a thread about rights of way. The poster had an easment on the back of their property, on which they built a fence (as did all of their neighbors). They were claiming foul because the city came in and dug up the area for a sewer project and they wanted compensated for the landscaping that was disturbed and replacement of the fence. The end result was they shouldn't have built on what they knew was an easement.

drodge said:

It depends on the state laws what they can and can't do, but in most places they can access power lines with zero notice or approval. I happen to own one properly with a very large transmission line that runs through one corner of the properly. Here in VA, I can't deny them access and they can freely come in and out whenever they want. In my case there is seperate access, so it's not an issue. There was an advance notice in the disclosure that outlined that, so I knew well in advance. At any rate, there is always going to be a provision in the law that allows the power company to maintain lines. Trimming trees is part of that, and I highly doubt that you can stop them.


I only ask because I could imagine situations where the property owner takes part in some potentially hazardous activity on their own property, which may be entirely safe and low-risk to the outside public, but for a utility crew showing up without notice and entering without knowing or attempting to know the risks...it might be inefficient for the property owner to have to buy additional insurance or whatever in anticipation of that kind of thing.

t60 said: drodge said: lindylady said: Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!
That's highly doubtful. Almost every property with power lines has a legal easement, to which the owner cannot legally block access. They can probably come onto the property and cut down any of the trees in the easement that they deem to be a danger to the lines.
Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance?
That's what the easement is for. Otherwise any genius can demand $1 million to grant access to the utilities.

That being said, there might not be the clear case for cutting down the trees if the power co can safely trim back the trees.

oopsz said: Sigh.

Think about it this way: an easement is the dominant estate, your ownership of the property is servient to all easements. The utility company (or water company, or sewer company, or gas company) can do anything necessary to the purpose of the easement and you can't bar them reasonable access. Depending on state law, you may be able to ask them for notice or if it's routine/non-emergency ask them to fit your schedule, but you have to let them on your property.

All easements should have been disclosed when you bought the property. If they weren't you might have a title insurance claim.


Easements in gross don't have dominant estates and easements aren't an estate in land anyway.

nycll said: t60 said: drodge said: lindylady said: Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!
That's highly doubtful. Almost every property with power lines has a legal easement, to which the owner cannot legally block access. They can probably come onto the property and cut down any of the trees in the easement that they deem to be a danger to the lines.
Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance?
That's what the easement is for. Otherwise any genius can demand $1 million to grant access to the utilities.
Understood, but my question was regarding any notice that the utility company is required to provide. Looks like there isn't any though, so they can just come and go as they please.

drieendertig said: oopsz said: Sigh.

Think about it this way: an easement is the dominant estate, your ownership of the property is servient to all easements. The utility company (or water company, or sewer company, or gas company) can do anything necessary to the purpose of the easement and you can't bar them reasonable access. Depending on state law, you may be able to ask them for notice or if it's routine/non-emergency ask them to fit your schedule, but you have to let them on your property.

All easements should have been disclosed when you bought the property. If they weren't you might have a title insurance claim.


Easements in gross don't have dominant estates and easements aren't an estate in land anyway.


Sorry. I practice civil law, so I deal in Servitudes and Abusus, not easements and fees.

t60 said: nycll said: t60 said: drodge said: lindylady said: Call the power company they do need your permission to do this so call and talk to them!
That's highly doubtful. Almost every property with power lines has a legal easement, to which the owner cannot legally block access. They can probably come onto the property and cut down any of the trees in the easement that they deem to be a danger to the lines.
Curious -- one of my relatives just bought a house with a power line mounted in the corner of their backyard. You're saying the electric company can just gain access to the property whenever they want (climbing over locked yard doors etc..), so long as they are doing maintenance?
That's what the easement is for. Otherwise any genius can demand $1 million to grant access to the utilities.
Understood, but my question was regarding any notice that the utility company is required to provide. Looks like there isn't any though, so they can just come and go as they please.


I'm pretty sure there is no legal requirement to give notice, but it would have been pretty unusual for us to have done routine maintenance like tree removal without first talking to the home owners. Just because you have the legal right to enter a persons property without talking to them doesn't mean it's a good idea. You are sure to make some one mad if they wake up to a bunch of people on their property cutting down their trees, not to mention that home owners can point out any hazards like buried septic tanks, old wells etc.

Send them to my house, will save me thousands!

If there is an easement...absolutely. I'm not sure about your state lindylady, but most states they don't have to have permission of any type to trim a tree that is encroaching on their easement.

I work for a utility, and we make every effort to contact the owners, get permission, and keep them informed on why we do it. But we wouldn't have to do anything. We want to stay in good standing with our members, so we go out of our way to accomodate them, replace the trees with new ones that don't get as tall, whatever. But if those trees are going to knock out power for everyone down line the next time a windstorm hits, they're going to cut them down. Not fair to those people to be out of power because those trees are too close.

OP, rather than try to fight them, I would contact them and ask them to replace them with some small trees of your choice. We have several nice ones that are usually 6' to 7' tall, and we'll grind the old Stumps
down and plant the new tree for you. Trying to fight it will get you nowhere IMO. Good luck.

I wish my power company come cut my trees down, I have to pay a few grand for some company to do it.

Any reason you want to keep the trees OP?

Yep. The Power Company has the right to access any electrical facility that is in the easement. If you should have an electrical facility in your property, you must allow for proper access which will more than likely include building restrictions. The access is normally a straight shot from the road and about 3 to 5 feet wide. You usually cannot build any structure in the easement or within 5 feet of any apparatus, anchors, hanholes, etc... There are other restrictions. the company usually will be nice enough to leave a notice of their intent. However, during an emergency, entrance is made. I have seen the police present during work on a powerline when a homeowner continued to block the power company from access to the facility. If the structure is on your property, you are responsible for the unrestricted access to the facility.
Just my 2 cents.

From Wikipedia :

In February 2004, the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force released their final report, placing the main cause of the blackout on FirstEnergy Corporation's failure to trim trees in part of its Ohio service area. The report states that a generating plant in Eastlake, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) went offline amid high electrical demand, putting a strain on high-voltage power lines (located in a distant rural setting) which later went out of service when they came in contact with "overgrown trees". The cascading effect that resulted ultimately forced the shutdown of more than 100 power plants.[10]

Not trimming trees caused the blackout of '03.

dpa789kd said: If there is an easement...absolutely. I'm not sure about your state lindylady, but most states they don't have to have permission of any type to trim a tree that is encroaching on their easement.

I work for a utility, and we make every effort to contact the owners, get permission, and keep them informed on why we do it. But we wouldn't have to do anything. We want to stay in good standing with our members, so we go out of our way to accomodate them, replace the trees with new ones that don't get as tall, whatever. But if those trees are going to knock out power for everyone down line the next time a windstorm hits, they're going to cut them down. Not fair to those people to be out of power because those trees are too close.

OP, rather than try to fight them, I would contact them and ask them to replace them with some small trees of your choice. We have several nice ones that are usually 6' to 7' tall, and we'll grind the old Stumps
down and plant the new tree for you. Trying to fight it will get you nowhere IMO. Good luck.


Wow, your company sounds like the greatest utility ever. Mine here in VA does none of that. They never provide notice. The just trimmed along the road about 2 weeks ago and did indeed just show up and start trimming. When they take down a whole tree, they certainly don't grind any Stumps
. Replanting trees would be a miracle. I guess it varies from one place to another and one company to another, but ours here sucks.

Skipping 10 Messages...
They can do anything to those trees they want from cut to remove.

The guys out there are just doing there jobs. It really is not personal. They would love to get paid by NOT doing anything.

PLEASE don't say something like, "Do you know who i am!?" or "I may contact my attorney"

KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS AND RESPECT and they may leave you some firewood and actually make the place look better.

ALL OF THE LAW IS ON THEIR SIDE.



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