Some Pittsburg residents upset over tree trimming service by Wes - KOAM TV 7

Some Pittsburg residents upset over tree trimming service by Westar Energy

People in Pittsburg might have noticed some tree trimmers near power lines today.  It's a contractor hired by Westar Energy, and part of a continuing effort to reduce power outages.  But some residents say the service is doing more harm than good.

Larry Douglas says it's not like there's a shady reason for Westar to trim trees.

"Because we're coming up on our heavy weather season," says Douglas.

It's a weather season with winds that could cause tree limbs to break power lines.  So Westar wants to be proactive.

"We're looking to target tree limbs that are within 10 feet of the lines.  We don't always get 10 feet of clearance.  Sometimes you get a little bit more, sometimes less," says Ian Evans, Westar's Southeast Kansas Vegetation Management Supervisor.

But Douglas says Westar is barking up the wrong tree.

"I think a lot of it is very, very ugly," says Douglas.

Besides appearance, Douglas says, "They've just butchered them back to the point where they're either going to kill the tree or the tree is going to fall because of weather."

Westar says their contracted workers follow standards of the International Society of Arborists.

"Yes, there are times where a tree gets trimmed so severely that from an aesthetic perspective, it doesn't look as good as what some people want.  But the focus is to keep the lights on," says Evans.

Some residents agree.

"I think they did the best job that they could do," says Pittsburg resident Robert Scott.

Westar says very rarely does their tree trimming service cause a tree to die.  Douglas says when you get down to it, Westar just needs to plan and plant for a better tomorrow.

"There's going to be an expense to take down what's left of these trees," says Douglas.

Westar Energy says if a customer believes a tree on their property died because of Westar's tree pruning service, Westar will evaluate the tree and possibly pay to have the tree removed.  For more information on the tree trimming service, click here.

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