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Pepco’s Tree Work – Excessive, Causing Power Failure?

Butchered? - Cut trees lying in north College Park

Allegations are swirling among residents in north College Park that Pepco’s recent tree work has probably caused the recent triple power failure and was way too excessive.

First, there have been a number of concerns about the excessive nature of these tree works. Many of the trees were completely removed, instead of pruned in order to clear the power lines. It appears that the Pepco contractors from Asplundth were not also sensitive to the fact that completely removing some of these trees negatively impact the neighborhoods and hence the residents.

I know a few months ago, when Pepco planned to prune / remove trees on Rhode Island Avenue, they marked those trees before they started these work.I’m not sure why this wasn’t done in these recent massive tree works. Visiting the neighborhood, I see their work has been way too excessive and unnecessary. Marking the trees and warning the residents would have probably prevented these unnecessary work.

I’ll also check if the City if it has an MOU with Pepco on these tree works. If not I’ll see if we should start working on it.

Further to these excessive tree works, many find them related to three recent power failures in our neighborhoods. All these outages happened on the same day the replacement work was going on. The weather was calm and there was no storm on that day. It is hard to believe three consecutive power failures occurred just by accidents.

While we’re still looking at these issues, in the mean time, if you’re interested in replacing any of these trees, please let me know. I will forward these locations to the City. The City recently requested vouchers from PEPCO for tree replacements,and its request was approved.

[UPDATE] I spoke with Brenda of Public works to find more about Pepco / Asplundth’s recent tree works. According to her, Pepco provided a plan to the City’s Public Works on the streets / areas they were planning to cover. Brenda / Public Works reviewed the plan and asked Pepco to make a number of adjustments in the plan, as she saw some of the work was too excessive and accordingly suggested pruning instead of cutting altogether. At the end, the removal / pruning work was based on (1) the kind of trees, (2) whether they were less desirable to have and have them replaced by a better one (3) health of the tree (dead or close to dying), among many other things.

According to Brenda, Pepco / Asplundth marked the tress before they touched as a way of giving warning to everyone living nearby. She was supposed to be warned before the actual work began, unfortunately that did not happen. I requested her to let me know before such a major tree work happen in future, so that we can share those plans with the nearby residents. She said she will. She was going to let us know in this case also, however obviously Pepco Asplundth did not keep their promise on providing prior warning. This is an issue we’ll definitely raise to Pepco in addition to other concerns we have, such as on power outages.

Hope this clarifies the issues a bit. In the mean time, Brenda said she has received approval of a substantial amount of vouchers on tree replacements. So let’s take advantage of that and let me know which trees you want to be replaced. Once they have the list ready, replacement planting will start from fall this year.

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