Me vs Duke Energy....what are my property rights?

phylodog

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
57   0   0
Mar 7, 2008
14,213
113
Arcadia
So we bought our home approx 18 months ago and while I have just under 12 acres I don't have 1/4 of the trees on the property I wish I did. The home was built in 1910 and the biggest tree we have is a big sycamore we can see from the house. Someone from a tree service working for Duke Energy stopped by with a permission form he wanted me to sign for them to cut down the sycamore tree. I wasn't home at the time but the rep apparently told my wife that we could refuse. I find it difficult to believe that I can simply say no and they'll be fine with that and leave me alone about it.

So what's the deal with this? I'm pretty confident that this tree was here before our house was built and was likely there a long time before the power lines went up. This is the biggest tree we have and I find it challenging to believe that it's been fine there for decades and all of a sudden it's creating an issue.

Anyone dealt with this before?
 

CampingJosh

Master
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Dec 16, 2010
3,133
99
If you don't have the right to refuse, then why would they bother to ask?

(That to say, I don't know, but I want to follow this thread.)
 

Leadeye

Grandmaster
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Jan 19, 2009
27,801
63
.
Local REMC asks here as well. Last year they came through and after asking I marked the dead ash trees all within power line range and they cut them down. Since the county road is forested we still have interruptions form live trees and branches, I guess they figure if they don't trim your trees you'll just have to live with the interruptions. We have a generator, so it's not a big deal.
 

churchmouse

I still care....Really
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
177   0   0
Dec 7, 2011
176,812
0
Speedway area
They come through here on occasion and trim back the trees. Never seen one come down but we are not Duke.
 

phylodog

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
57   0   0
Mar 7, 2008
14,213
113
Arcadia
Local REMC asks here as well. Last year they came through and after asking I marked the dead ash trees all within power line range and they cut them down. Since the county road is forested we still have interruptions form live trees and branches, I guess they figure if they don't trim your trees you'll just have to live with the interruptions. We have a generator, so it's not a big deal.

I've got a generator as well. If the tree looked like it were in danger of toppling over I could understand but this tree is solid.
 

T.Lex

Grandmaster
Rating - 100%
15   0   0
Mar 30, 2011
25,585
113
Not advice, but an observation.

Some people want trees taken out. Sometimes a utility wants to stop trimming them year after year and has a budget to take them down. Sometimes those interests align.

If a utility thought the tree was a danger to their property (even though its on your property), the tree would already be gone.
 

Cameramonkey

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
30   0   0
May 12, 2013
18,647
77
Camby area
That's definitely the plan right now.


Cool. Ive got a sweet spot for those trees. Some of my best memories are around those things. Either along a creek where I would play as a kid, or the one between my boyhood home and my grandma's house next door. The trunk is big enough that it would take at least 3-4 grown men to reach around the circumference.
 

Mgderf

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
37   0   0
May 30, 2009
13,070
83
So we bought our home approx 18 months ago and while I have just under 12 acres I don't have 1/4 of the trees on the property I wish I did. The home was built in 1910 and the biggest tree we have is a big sycamore we can see from the house. Someone from a tree service working for Duke Energy stopped by with a permission form he wanted me to sign for them to cut down the sycamore tree. I wasn't home at the time but the rep apparently told my wife that we could refuse. I find it difficult to believe that I can simply say no and they'll be fine with that and leave me alone about it.

So what's the deal with this? I'm pretty confident that this tree was here before our house was built and was likely there a long time before the power lines went up. This is the biggest tree we have and I find it challenging to believe that it's been fine there for decades and all of a sudden it's creating an issue.

Anyone dealt with this before?

Mind you this is just a guess, but I would wonder about a refusal.
If you do refuse, and later the tree causes damage to their transmission lines, will you be held responsible?
I would ask if they could gently trim it out of their way, doing the least amount of damage as possible to the tree.
 

KittySlayer

Master
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Jan 29, 2013
4,785
47
Northeast IN
Sounds like your refusing is the best fit for your situation.

Do remember that trees have a limited life span, just longer than ours. If it gets to the point it needs taken down it may be cheaper to let Duke take it down. Equally so, if you want to keep it healthy you may need to do some of your own trimming, maintenance, and care. Duke is trimming to protect their lines, you may need to do some trimming to protect the tree’s overall health.
 

KittySlayer

Master
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Jan 29, 2013
4,785
47
Northeast IN
If Duke demands or be taken down ask for compensation and removal of all wood and debris. At work we had I&M wanting to take down a tree and they paid us $150 compensation so we could plant a new tree further away from the lines.
 

gregkl

Outlier
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
27   0   0
Apr 8, 2012
8,407
27
Bloomington
I came home once to some douche bags (ATT contractor cutters) cutting my huge arborvitae ( more like Cedars of Lebanon looking). These usually have 2-3 trunks that rise straight up with very little growth horizontally.

They trimmed the first 6 of 9 by cutting the trunks at the base. They could have went up high where their lines were and carved out the center to make room for their phone cable, but they didn't. And in reality, those trees are so light that they wouldn't have hurt the lines anyway.

One of the first times my wife saw me almost violent. I am not a scary guy, but I actually scared those guys. And when one of them said "they would grow back" and saw my look, they quick cutting the rest and left.

I took that one through all the channels up to state's attorney general but never got anything.

Now I have to look in the row of trees along the back of my property and see the scarred remains of what was once 6 beautiful trees. And no, they have never grown back. And they won't.

If you have the option push back. If they insist on cutting it, push them to hire an arborist, not some crew with chainsaws. An arborist can trim the tree to make room for power lines without hurting the health of the tree. You may not have that option, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
 

gregkl

Outlier
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
27   0   0
Apr 8, 2012
8,407
27
Bloomington
Sounds like your refusing is the best fit for your situation.

Do remember that trees have a limited life span, just longer than ours. If it gets to the point it needs taken down it may be cheaper to let Duke take it down. Equally so, if you want to keep it healthy you may need to do some of your own trimming, maintenance, and care. Duke is trimming to protect their lines, you may need to do some trimming to protect the tree’s overall health.

This is true. I paid $4K to have two trees taken down in my backyard a few years ago. And that didn't include stump grinding.

I have a tree(almost dead) that Duke wants to take down. But they just take it down and leave the entire mess in your yard. They took one down this winter at my next door neighbor. It was a huge, old oak. His backyard is literally covered with felled tree remains. The trunk is probably 30" plus in diameter. He has some big pieces of wood and he doesn't know what he is going to do with it all.

I will leave mine until they force the issue. If it falls, it's not near any buildings so I'm not worried about that.
 

bwframe

Grayish Man
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
84   0   0
Feb 11, 2008
26,433
113
Monroe County
I guess I'm the bad guy here?

I've lived rural for the last thirty years. I expect the expensive electric power that I pay for to stay on. It's how I make a living. :dunno:
 

GodFearinGunTotin

Grandmaster
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Mar 22, 2011
40,276
113
Mitchell
Here’s what I understand: if it’s in their ROW, they can remove the hazard. I’m not sure what they have to do in regards to cutting it all the way down, simply limbing it up, etc. But I think Duke has a program to try to reclaim ROW they’ve allowed to be encroached Upon over the years and even go after trees outside their ROW they believe could pose a hazard. My guess is your sycamore falls into that last category. I don’t think they have a legal right to take it but are simply trying to increase reliability by taking a potential hazard out. I know in the last year or so, we’ve had power interrupted to the plant by tree parts contacting the lines that came from outside their ROW.
 

snorko

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
313   0   0
Apr 3, 2008
6,447
63
Evansville, IN
Here’s what I understand: if it’s in their ROW, they can remove the hazard. I’m not sure what they have to do in regards to cutting it all the way down, simply limbing it up, etc. But I think Duke has a program to try to reclaim ROW they’ve allowed to be encroached Upon over the years and even go after trees outside their ROW they believe could pose a hazard. My guess is your sycamore falls into that last category. I don’t think they have a legal right to take it but are simply trying to increase reliability by taking a potential hazard out. I know in the last year or so, we’ve had power interrupted to the plant by tree parts contacting the lines that came from outside their ROW.

This. If they are asking, it is likely near but outside the easement. Typically utility easements allow them to trim limbs encroaching but they can't take the tree down unless the trunk is at least partially in the easement.

I do a lot of valuation work for utility corridor acquisition and that's how the deed typically reads.
 
Top Bottom