Tall trees near power lines can be a serious safety hazard. But, a local couple is upset about PG&E's solution to removing a set of trees from their southwest Bakersfield backyard.
The Kaiser family spent hundreds of dollars planting four palm trees in their backyard ten years ago. They're frustrated because they say PG&E wants to chop them down and leave behind stumps.
"We had just moved to Bakersfield, and we had seen different palm trees, and that was something new for us," said Megan Kaiser.
Megan Kaiser and her husband planted four palm trees in their yard. But, that was ten years ago and now those trees have grown into PG&E's power lines.
"PG&E came to us two days ago and told us we had a seven-day window before they would come in and cut down our trees to the stumps," said Kaiser.
According to PG&E, it is a safety concern. The company's general policy is to remove trees, but not the stumps. Removing stumps is generally up to the homeowner.
"We were quoted $400 or $500 for that one stump," said Kaiser. "It seems like such an unfair situation, especially when you look at the monetary aspect of the situation, where it's a multi-million dollar company."
PG&E says it tries to avoid this kind of situations by educating homeowners about what types of trees to plant under power lines.
"Obviously, if we had been educated and we had known, we would have made better decisions," explained Kaiser. "It's like giving a student an Algebra test without any background knowledge of what to do on the test. It's just an unfair advantage."
PG&E is now backtracking on its original plan.
"Initially, when we were communicating with them, we did not do as good a job as we could have and should have," said Jeff Smith, PG&E Spokesperson. "It is regrettable we weren't able to be as sensitive initially to the needs of this customer as we hope to be."
The Kaiser's trees will stay, at least for now.
"At this point, we're not going to do anything in respect to removal of the trees before we're able to come up with a mutually satisfactory arrangement with the customer," noted Smith.