BGE's tree-trimming policies makes power outages more likely

Widespread power outages brought by the storm last week have renewed calls for proactive tree trimming by BGE ("Feeling powerless," July 3). However, my observation is that BGE's past tree trimming practices have produced more harm than good.

Several years ago BGE sent crews to trim trees in my neighborhood alongside power lines that follow a stream. The trees were healthy at the time, but the crews managed to spread a disease (oak wilt fungus) that attacks oak trees, and within a couple of years many of the large oaks along the stream had died.

Now, instead of a few healthy branches overhanging the power lines, there are massive, towering, dead trees waiting for storms to topple them.

Last year I called BGE and suggested they begin removing these dead trees. I was told that unless the tree was actually touching the power line in a manner that caused "tension on it," their policy was not to act.

In January a storm brought down some large dead oaks, snapping a power pole and blacking out the neighborhood. BGE installed a new pole but did nothing about the many remaining tree hazards.

The fact is large dead trees are a greater threat to the power infrastructure than branches from healthy, live trees. Tree trimming practices that kill healthy trees are exacerbating the problem, not solving it.

Joseph Ganem, Reisterstown

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