Mentor residents riled over rash of power outages due to aging trees

Mentor residents riled over rash of power outages due to aging trees

MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - When the windy weather hits, we all know we may have to endure, at some point, an inconvenient power outage. But a portion of a Mentor neighborhood is having their patience tested by multiple power outages.

Tree trouble in a local neighborhood leading aggravating power outages

“I would say at least 3 to 4 times a year we’ll lose power anywhere from a minimum of 6 hours to a couple of days,” says Mentor resident John Gazzuolo.

FirstEnergy officials tell us they are aware of the problem, as it affects up to 60 homes in the neighborhood.

The problem they point out is that a heavily wooded area along the line that serves the homes is filled with older trees that tend to lose branches in windy weather.

First Energy spokesperson Chris Eck tells us that, by law, they can trim the trees up to 10 feet on either side of the line.

“However, there are a lot of much larger trees that are off our right of way that we’re not allowed to touch, and those trees are creating a lot of problems in those areas and have for a number of years.”

The trees, on private property, are older and tend to lose branches in windy conditions. Gazzuolo says he was forced to buy a generator but that’s proven to be just a band-aid. “I’ve had to stay in hotels that I’ve had to pay out of my pocket, and I’ve lost food from the fridge.”

The solution is to have the private property owners agree to an easement that would allow FirstEnergy on the property to trim or cut down the problem trees.

That’s not an easy solution as most people are not eager to lose the natural aesthetics of the neighborhood.

The city of Mentor would have to get involved and work with all parties in getting the easement approved.

“When you have distribution lines that run through heavily wooded areas you can run into these problems,” Eck said, “We see this a lot in areas in West Virginia that we serve.”

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