Trees grow back, power lines don’t

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I read an article in the paper not long ago concerning some people getting upset with Entergy trimming their trees and had contacted local elected officials to stop the trimming.

Last week I read about a tree on John R. Junkin Drive that fell and knocked down three poles, blocked traffic, and had lights off for several hours.

One thing I learned over 40 years of working for Entergy is that trees and power lines can’t coexist in the same space or even in close proximity. Wind, ice and snow will usually cause trees to come in contact with the lines and outages will occur. Sometimes the tree will just rot and fall or fall for no reason at all.

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Most people will say “Entergy should put everything underground,” but most of these lines were built many years ago when overhead construction was the norm, as it still is, and the trees weren’t there. To put these lines underground now would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and those wanting them underground aren’t willing to pay for that type of construction.

During construction of a new subdivision is the time to install underground utilities, but these subdivisions will be served by overhead lines that have trees around them or in close proximity, so the problem will still exist as far as outages are concerned.

Entergy usually trims trees on a three to five-year cycle and this year is the time they will want to trim the trees in the downtown area. The nice thing about trees is that after trimming, they will grow back, much like a bad haircut.

Entergy’s main job is to supply its customers the best and most problem free service they possibly can and that means trimming trees periodically. So when the tree trimmers come down your street, remember that a trimmed tree is better than a long outage, especially when the temperature is 90 degrees plus or 30 degrees.

And please remember that when planting trees around your house, look up and don’t plant under a power line.

Forest Persons

Retired Entergy employee

Natchez resident