Tree pruning program meant to keep the lights on

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Energy crews are working to trim overgrown trees and bushes in several areas around town.

Tree limbs are the most common cause for power outages, so crews have been marking problematic trees with a pink ribbon. In normal weather tree limbs that rub against power lines can cause fluctuations in voltages, resulting in outages.

Austin Energy Tree Pruning
Trees that need trimming are marked with pink ribbons

Austin Energy said they work on about 12,000 properties through the year, pruning trees so limbs stay clear of the lines.

“Don’t want to have to go without power,” said homeowner Rick Krivoniak, who appreciates the assistance. “I’m OK with taking that branch that is right over the supply line away.”

Removals are recommended for fast-growing trees such as hackberries or chinaberries, which are difficult to control near power lines. Removal is also recommended for any tree that is diseased, dying and decaying, or at risk of falling onto power lines.

Austin Energy also offers replacement trees that are compatible with utility lines if a tree is removed.

The utility company said crews will not trim trees without notifying homeowners first. Austin Energy works with neighborhood leaders and will go door-to-door talking with homeowners or leaving information about the work being done.

As for complaints, the company said about 4 percent of homeowners try and refuse the service.

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