HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg homeowner says the routine tree clearance by her electric company was unannounced and without good judgement.
Lisa Curtis says she came home from work one day this August and trees had been cleared from her yard.
"No one told me anything," says Curtis. "I felt like I had the right to be told what trees are coming down- specifically marked- and why."
A crew with Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association cleared Curtis's trees as they do every six to seven years, according to PRVEPA Manager of Member Services Kurt Brautigam.
"Tree trimming is something that we do as a natural course of business, annually," says Brautigam. "We know that this is a sensitive topic for a lot of people, but it's something that has got to be done."
Brautigam says the routine clearance is done mainly for safety measures, and there are specific zones where trees can be cleared- whether that is by trimming or a complete cutting down.
"Anything in the right of way really should be taken out," says Brautigam. "That 30-foot corridor needs to be wide open. If there are trees outside of that right of way with branches hanging in, we trim those."
The rights of way are between 30 and 50 feet. A typical residential yard is 30 feet, according to Brautigam, and that 15 feet on either side of the line is subject to clearance.
But Curtis feels that this clearing was done to the extreme.
"I felt honestly there's some trees they just could have cut the branches," says Curtis. "They've already established they could do that. They didn't have to drop whole trees."
Brautigam says there is a distinct method for choosing which trees to cut down or trim
"Depending on the kinds of trees that you have, if they're right on the edge of that 15 ft to the center line, you can trim some branches possibly," says Brautigam. "But we also have danger trees depending on what direction the tree is leaning and the relative health of that tree. If it looks like it's in danger of falling into the line, we'll take that tree down and have the right to do that even if it's not inside the exact right of way."