Electric company tree removal: A property owner's rights

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Herb Beattie (herb.beattie AT sbcglobal.net) sent along a summary of Tuesday night's meeting about the rights property owners have when AEP/PSO (our local electric company) comes onto the property to cut back or remove trees:

THINGS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD KNOW WHEN AEP/PSO ENTERS YOUR YARD:
  1. The homeowner owns land within easement, subject to utilities’ rights to use the easement for the delivery of services.
  2. Within an easement, AEP/PSO has an obligation to act reasonably.
  3. Within an easement, owner and AEP/PSO have an obligation to accommodate each other.
  4. AEP/PSO have a right to access an easement to trim trees by traveling across owners land to get to the easement, but they shouldn’t injure your property when the cross or when they are working.
  5. Outside the easement, the homeowner owns the land completely, and has a right to reasonably eject trespassers (including AEP/PSO). The homeowner has a right to be free from encroachment on her lands.
  6. AEP/PSO’s representatives will tell you they can cut out to 15 or 20 feet or more from the power lines.
  7. AEP/PSO does not have a property right that allows them to cut beyond their easement - most residential easements in Tulsa are 7.5 feet on a single property.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Know where your easement is and how big it is.
  2. Take photos before, during and after the cutting.
  3. When you get a card indicating that AEP/PSO will cut your trees talk to the AEP/PSO forester about where your easement is and where your trees are.
  4. Demand to be on site when the tree trimming is done. You have a right to be there.
  5. Be firm – don’t let them cut outside the easement just because they want to.
  6. If AEP/PSO persists, inform them you will call the police and press charges for criminal trespass.
  7. If AEP/PSO still encroaches over your objections, do call the police, and call your lawyer.

WHAT ABOUT THE LOGS THAT LITTER MY YARD?

  1. Ask AEP/PSO to clean up the litter they create.
  2. If they don’t clean up, call your lawyer.

Thanks, Herb, for passing along the information.

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I received an email from a distraught homeowner who recently had their trees butchered by AEP/PSO's tree trimming contractor Asplundh. In addition to the thumbnail picture, which is clickable for a larger image, explore the photo directory to see a... Read More

2 Comments

Clint and Laura Johnson said:

we have trimmers comming and they are telling us they have 25 foot easment to work in....we do not want then to destroy the tree's that are diractly over our house not only because they cover and shade house but they reflect property and will effect value.....there 25 foot easment would include my living room and carport. we found no other houses so close to lines....is there any thing we can do and also should house be under 3 phase lines ?

Ray Author Profile Page said:

First, go to the public library. There check out a book on the planting and / or pruning trees. If you love your tree so much, you should care for it. Walk down the street and you see trees with trunks that split into two branches less than six feet of the ground. Things like this are a disaster waiting to happen when the tree matures. It is your property and your responsibility. I have to pay higher electric bills so PSO can trim your tree or fix damaged lines. Remember that little tree planted three feet from your house or a power lines is too close. In twenty years you will see you should have planted it ten or fifteen feet away.

Read a book and Save a tree!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 31, 2005 10:42 PM.

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