Utility workers chop down trees, anger residents

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Utility Workers Chop Down Trees, Anger Residents

A stump is all that's left of a tree Jon Hinebauch and his wife planted about 40 years ago. He told KMGH utility workers came to his Boulder County, Colorado, neighborhood and cut it down as a safety precaution.

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"Fellow shows up in a green vest and says, 'We're going take this tree down,' and I said, 'No, no, no.' ... They were on a scorched-earth mission to cut down trees throughout this neighborhood," he said.

The company is Xcel Energy, which in a statement said it had to remove that and many other trees to avoid "the possibility of serious damage to Xcel Energy equipment" and "the threat of loss of service."

Others in the neighborhood dispute that.
"These trees are just not that tall, and it seems extremely unlikely that they would affect any of these lines," said Andy Jost, who says he lost several of his trees the same way.

It's an issue utilities providers have recognized as a potentially sensitive one. According to Consumers Energy in Michigan, trees are linked to around 30 percent of power outages.

It looks like residents of that Boulder County neighborhood are more miffed about how Xcel went about chopping down their trees.

Several told Boulder Daily Camera they often weren't told ahead of time, and the company and its contractors were rude.

For the most part, on an easement, Xcel can do what it feels is in the best interest of the utility, but at the very least the neighbors tell the Daily Camera this can't be good PR for the company.

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