Trees cut for Duke Energy maintenance left in people’s yards

TRINITY, N.C. — Homeowners in Trinity say a routine tree trimming by contractors hired by Duke Energy has turned their front lawns into “war zones.”

“It’s pretty appalling,” said Bill Wheatley, who lives on Stone Ridge Drive.

His front yard has been covered with tree limbs and debris since Tuesday when contractors cut down three trees on his front yard as part of routine maintenance around power lines.

“If you make a mess, please clean it up,” Wheatley said.

He thought at least once the trees were cut, they’d be removed. He didn’t know he’d have to do it himself.

“I’m going to be out maybe $200 just to get rid of this,” Wheatley said. “That’s not right, not fair.”

“They cut it and left,” said Merrill Passmore, who lives nearby on Coltrane Street.

She says contractors hired by Duke Energy left her front yard in a similar state.

“If they would have just put it all together, it wouldn’t look this bad,” Passmore said.

She just put her home on the market this week and thinks the debris will be a turn off.

“It’s a mess really,” she said.

Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks says the company has the right to trim trees that are too close or hanging on power lines.

“If those trees encroach in our right of way, we sometimes do have to trim them,” Brooks said.

Its policy is to remove small limbs from landscaped areas.

Bigger pieces are cut into “manageable” sizes and become the homeowner’s responsibility.

“We do our best to try to cut those into manageable lengths,” Brooks said. “It’s not something where we can remove every bit of debris.”

But they should, says Wheatley, who is 67 and says the job is too much for him to handle.

“These pieces are well over 100 pounds,” Wheatley said.  “This is not really ‘manageable’ for me.”