Oncor Tree-Trimming Also Snips Home Prices: Residents

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    A Lakewood man says tree-trimming has lowered the value of his home.

    Dallas man says tree trimmers decrease his property value every time they trim a tree.

    Rick Huber said he didn't like the results after pruners hired by Oncor Electric Delivery trimmed his 150-year-old pecan tree to keep it away from power lines.

    "It's butchering," he said.

    Huber said the work done by the contractors in his neighborhood looks bad. He and several other residents said they plan to protest their property values next year and ask for a lower appraisal because of the trimming.

    Tree "Butchering" Cuts Property Values: Lakewood Man

    [DFW] Tree "Butchering" Cuts Property Values: Lakewood Man
    Dallas residents say the pruning is lowering their property values.

    "I think it's already decreased our property value 10 percent at least, if not more," Huber said. "Lakewood is known for its old trees."

    Oncor spokesman Chris Schein said the trimming is necessary. He said tree limbs falling onto power lines in storms or heavy winds cause most of the power outages in the East Dallas neighborhood.

    "At the end of the day, we have to insure the reliability for all the customers," Schein said.

    He said Oncor is testing a pilot program that allows East Dallas residents to visit with an arborist before trimming. The program also allows residents to hire their own arborist to trim to Oncor specifications, but homeowners must sign a contract to participate in the program.

    "We've got some options, but if none of those options are something that appeals to the customer, then, really, the only other thing we have to do is trim the trees," Schein said.

    Huber said he didn't sign the contract on advice of an attorney, mainly because of a stipulation that could assign liability to homeowners who had a private arborist trim the trees.

    Homeowners also have the option to pay to bury the lines. Schein acknowledged that the price isn't cheap.

    Huber said he has looked into burying the lines but said it will cost too much.

    "Fifty-thousand dollars is the minimum price," he said. "That's 50, one-thousand-dollar bills."

    Schein said Oncor's pilot program is still under review and feedback from residents can help shape its future.

    But Huber said several people did not know about the program when he called Oncor to talk about it.

    "I've not seen any public forum that Oncor has welcomed any feedback," he said.