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Published: Thursday, 8/9/2001

Ottawa Hills trees need good clipping

Toledo Edison plans to prune trees in Ottawa Hills this fall, but the pruning isn't about beauty - it's business.

Trees tangled in power lines have caused a spate of power outages in the village, especially near the Ottawa River flood plain. This is the second-largest vicinity where tree problems hurt service reliability, behind the Corey Woods area, said Chuck Krueger, an area manager for Toledo Edison.

Toledo Edison and the village are trying to avert the outages.

For the past 18 months, 29 power-related outages have been reported in Ottawa Hills. The outages averaged five hours, Mr. Krueger said.

“If there's a tree problem, our forestry people have to go in and clear the problem,” Mr. Krueger said. “It's generally more than one tree.”

The tree problem is corrected first and then the power crew goes in.

“Tree problems like fallen branches are the No. 1 cause of power outages, especially in a area like Ottawa Hills,” Mr. Krueger said. “They have some old, large trees.”

First Energy, parent company of Toledo Edison, has $32 million allocated for its forestry budget. That's for 2.5 million customers from Indiana to Pennsylvania. For Toledo Edison, the budget is $6 million for the forestry work for its coverage area of 300,000 customers. Of that, $3.6 million goes into neighborhood work.

At a July 11 meeting, Ottawa Hills residents had a chance to express their concerns to Marvin Mantos, a representative of Toledo Edison.

“There were some people at the meeting who expressed concerns about having their trees trimmed,” Mr. Krueger said. “They are the same people who express concern when the power goes out. We have to do the tree trimming to keep the lights on.”

But Bob Reichert, chairman of the village council's buildings and utilities committee, believes that burying cables underground could provide an alternative to tree trimming.

Toledo Edison usually trims on four-year cycles. “Half the village is on one part of the schedule and half is on another,” Mr. Krueger said. “If we are aware of areas that need immediate attention, we do that.”

The company has scheduled some trimming in November, but village manager Marc Thompson said more discussion will ensue before the next trimming date.

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