Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Westar starts tree-trimming effort

March 2, 2006

Tree trimming crews will be a common sight in De Soto for the next three months as Westar Energy makes a major effort to trim tree limbs from near its power lines.

"You'll probably see our contract tree trimmers quite a bit this year," said Westar Energy spokeswoman Karla Olsen. "These two circuits will take about three months. We'll come back at the end of the year for circuits up for retrimming."

Michael Horniman, De Soto resident and supervisor of Westar's vegetation management for northeast Kansas, said eight to 10 crews from Wright Tree Service would be in De Soto for about three months. The crews would clear limbs from two circuits, he said. One crew would start at the Waverly Road/95th Street electrical substation south along Waverly to 83rd Street, then head west to Lexington to Penner Avenue before ending on 87th Street, Horniman said. The second circuit would be the area of De Soto south of Lexington Avenue/87 Street line.

Horniman and Olsen said Westar would work with the city concerning trimming trees in the city right of way and with homeowners about trees on private property.

Regular tree trimming has proven effective in preventing power disruptions from ice and wind storms, Olsen said.

"Northeast Kansas wasn't hit as hard as Wichita and southeast Kansas in an ice storm a year ago, but we found that because we did such a good job of clearing away circuits we had much fewer outages than we thought we would have," she said. "It's an important part of providing electricity."

Safety is also a consideration, Horniman said.

"We don't want those trees to become ladders for young people -- they seem to be the adventurous ones -- to climb up where they could make contact with a power line," he said. "The program is geared to remove tall trees beneath lines and correct threes back from the line.

"Oft times we tell people up front, 'The best solution is the tree be removed.'"

Pamphlets shared with property owners advised of the best trees to plant in northeast Kansas and how to plant them so they won't be a problem as the mature, Horniman said.

Westar demands its contract trimmers follow national standards and has been recognized three years running for its effort by the National Arbor Foundation, Horniman said.

Those with questions or concerns about the trim trimming effort should call (866) 562-5121.

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