Homeowner: Tree service contractors hired by utility companies new threat to trees

NACOGDOCHES CO., TX (KTRE) – It has been a tough year for the Pineywoods of East Texas.  The drought and wildfires has threaten all kinds of trees.  Now property owners are routinely saying tree service contractors hired by utility companies are also a threat.

A Douglass-area resident is angry with Oncor and A-B-C Tree Service for cutting down a Red Oak believed to be at least 100 years old.

Colleen Smith can identify just about every tree on her 35 acres."Oak trees, hickory trees. Some of them were sweet gums."

Now some of those trees are topped out and even cut down. "They cut the trees farther away, closer to the road from the power lines, then left some in between the power lines," said Smith.

Smith holds A-B-C Tree Service responsible. " I asked them if they were cutting trees and they said 'no' and then they did."

The most disturbing discovery was the loss of a very large Red Oak tree. "Our electricity does go off a lot, but this tree was not a threat to the power. And it was very tall and very pretty and was not close to being dead."

An Oncor arborist disagrees.  That is according to area manager Brenda Walker who said Friday, "We try our best.  There are so many trees.  We are trying to keep the lines free.  Oncor will investigate this and deal with it appropriately."

Smith says before we contacted Oncor she had been waiting three weeks for a return call.

"They told me I needed to file a claim and I called the telephone number several times and left several messages and received no phone calls back."

Smith cannot put a dollar amount on the trees, however, she can express their personal value.

"It's worth a lot to me. This was my father's place before it was mine and the oak trees out here are beautiful. All the trees are. I just feel like they cut a lot of trees that still had a lot of life in them."

Oncor says company representatives will be contacting Smith.  KTRE also spoke with an A-B-C manager who said an area supervisor would promptly call us back, we are still waiting for that call, just like Colleen Smith.

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