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State commission investigates utilities’ tree trimming practices

This walnut tree is dying because of all of the topping that has been done by the utility company. Topping promotes abnormal, weak growth. © Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

This walnut tree is dying because of all of the topping that has been done by the utility company. Topping promotes abnormal, weak growth. © Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has launched a statewide investigation into the tree trimming practices used by the state’s electric utilities.

As part of the process, the commission has asked Hoosiers to tell of their experiences regarding their trees, property and electric utilities.

The investigation was prompted by citizen lobbyist Charles Goodman of Indianapolis, a retired equipment manager. He filed a complaint against Indianapolis Power & Light Co., in March 2008, after attempts to reach a compensation agreement failed for a tree that was cut in half without proper notice when he was not home.

His efforts garnered a legislative hearing last fall and a couple of legislators to consider bills. The IURC launched its investigation in April based on the issues Goodman raised in his complaint. Another citizen lobbyist, Jerry Baker of northwest Marion County, has joined Goodman in the fight, as have a group of homeowners in Muncie, Ind. The latter launched the Trees vs. Powerlines Web site.

Trees at Tilllitson Avenue and Petty Road, Muncie. Photo courtesy www.treesvspowerlines.com

Trees at Tilllitson Avenue and Petty Road, Muncie. Photo courtesy www.treesvspowerlines.com

“Now is the time to tell your story,” Baker said. “Any grievance you have had with the power line tree-trimming crews, or with policies of your electric utility, should be put on record now.”

Meantime, you can file your report with the Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor, which represents the public at the IURC. Written reports are due by Aug. 19. You can fill out a form at the counselor office’s Web site; or send by e-mail, uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov; fax, (317) 232-5923; or mail: Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor,
National City Center,
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South,
Indianapolis, IN 46204. Be sure to mention Docket No. 43663 in your message.

Baker requests that you also e-mail a copy of your report to him at cjbaker47@comcast.net, or mail it to Goodman, 2313 N. Graham Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46218.

1 comment to State commission investigates utilities’ tree trimming practices

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