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IURC orders IPL to suspend tree-trimming practices

Mary Ellen Gadski, a member of the Indianapolis Tree board, speaks at  the IURC hearing in Indianapolis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Mary Ellen Gadski, a member of the Indianapolis Tree board, speaks at the IURC hearing in Indianapolis. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has ordered Indianapolis Power & Light Co., to suspend its tree-trimming practices on private property until the state agency issues its final report.

The commission has suspended IPL’s “right to trim and remove trees located on customer’s property.” The commission filed its report Dec. 10.

The order of suspension comes after several public hearings the commission held this fall throughout the state to investigate consumer complaints about the tree-trimming practices of various utilities, including IPL and Duke Energy, formerly Public Service Indiana.

The commission agreed to investigate the issue following a complaint by Charles Goodman, an east side Indianapolis resident, and Jerry Baker, a Traders Point resident on the city’s northwest side.

“With the help of many, we have really achieved something here,” Baker said in an e-mail.

IURC filing, Dec. 10, 2009

Today is Tree-Huggers Day!

<p>Nuthatch hugs its tree. (C) Fotolia.com</p>

Nuthatch hugs its tree. (C) Fotolia.com

Indianapolis Museum of Art horticulturist Irvin Etienne celebrates trees and how to hug them. Here’s an excerpt:

“Today (Oct. 17) is National Tree Hugger Day. In the current mood of people embracing all things green and sustainable, it seems only right we have a National Tree Hugger Day. This event is not just for tree hugger extremist but rather an opportunity for all of us to show a little appreciation for these plants that bring so much joy into our lives. Not sure how to hug a tree?”

Read the full blog.

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.

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