Tree trimming has Gulfport residents upset with power company

Tree trimming has Gulfport residents upset with power company
A transformer sits near a large oak tree in Bayou View (Source; WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - People living on 39th street in the Bayou View area of Gulfport are outraged that the trees on their block had some of the branches cut off.

"I understand it has to be done to some extent but that is inexcusable. That is inexcusable," said Charles Davis, who lives in Bayou View.

Mississippi Power contracts the Asplundh Tree Experts Company, of D'Iberville, to cut tree branches that grow too close to power lines before the start of each storm season.

This year's hurricane season starts in a few weeks, so preparations are already being made. "Everybody knows June 1 is the  start of hurricane season," said Jeff Shepard, a spokesman for Mississippi Power. "We are committed to providing service, so this vegetation management work that's being done is part of that commitment to keep the lights on for our customers."

The company is required to have regular maintenance performed around power lines for safety and customer satisfaction.

People living on the street know that the work must be done, but say they weren't happy with the condition of the finished product. "About every 5 to 10 years they do it but never to this extent," said Kip Schloegel, a Bayou View resident. "They trimmed too much, it's out of proportion now."

The residents say they are concerned about how the trees will hold up. "I don't think the trees will be as good when you're like this in the storm comes there is not a lot of resistance in the middle," said Davis.

"I dare to say that tree will probably come down if we have a storm," added Schloegel.

Mississippi Power wants its customers to know that the work must be done. The crews are not butchering and destroying trees, they're simply trying to avoid the cause of a major power outage. "You're talking about interruption to service. We do everything we can, every single day, to mitigate everything that is going to interrupt service to our customers," added Shepard.

Trees falling on power lines were one of the main reasons the power was lost during Hurricane Nate last year.

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