Pepco wants to trim trees without owners' permission

Pepco says it needs to trim more trees to help fight ongoing power problems. It’s asking Montgomery County for special permission to cut trees without homeowners' consent.

Pepco says trees are the biggest contributor to power outages. The company says hundreds of customers wouldn’t let Pepco trim trees on their properties last year. Many homeowners don’t want Pepco to come anywhere near their trees.

Neighbors Priscilla Scheinberg and Ed Arold are against the move, despite having suffered through power outages.

Scheinberg says she lost power at her home for a week shortly after giving birth to her son. The family had to temporarily move to a hotel.

Neighbor Arold remembers that for the last three summers, his house has been without power for days at a time.

“It’s ridiculous,” Scheinberg said of Pepco’s wish.

“These are not arborists,” said Arold. “They just come out and chop a chunk out of the way.”

The Montgomery County Council agreed, advising Pepco to instead invest in infrastructure, or at least first prove that it uses best practices when it comes to tree trimming.

“That’s what we are trying to achieve because there must be a balance, “ said Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey. He says homeowners who refuse to let the company trim their trees are impacting everyone else.

“When you have a hundred untrimmed or dangerous trees, then you’re talking about thousands of outages,” he said.

Arold and Scheinberg said Pepco never offered to trim their trees. They do it themselves, but also acknowledge that they never asked Pepco to help.