ROSLYN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Homeowners in one North Shore community are in the midst of a tree fight with their utility over high voltage wires and tilting power poles.
Families say PSEG Long Island is responsible for maintaining safe easements in their back yards.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan is demanding answers.
Down the street from Roslyn High School, Overlook Terrace has 34 homes with backyard PSEG Long Island easements containing power poles. They hold, among other wires, cables so strong they can electrocute.
One of homeowner Cary Ratner’s 60 foot tall maples is in a precarious position.
“I have a tree that’s a real peril,” Ratner said. “I tried to get a tree surgeon, three of them. They won’t go near. It’s too close to the high voltage. It’s 13,000 volts.”
Next door, Jeffrey Kane’s 65 foot elm tree is also bending amid the high voltage wires, which is located on the right of way maintained, according to law, by PSEG Long Island.
A stiff wind in hurricane season could topple branches.
“That’s the problem. I am concerned that it will be dangerous,” Kane said.
If the trees come down, the high voltage wires could spark a fire, or worse.
“So I called them up, and nothing happened,” Ratner said.
The Ratners and Kanes and their neighbors say the called and emailed the utility multiple times, and were told that somebody would be sent.
PSEG Long Island sent a worker who filled out a form and left it, dated in July, at the front door. It said “Foliage debris is the property owner’s responsibility.” It also instructed them to call PSEG Long Island back next year.
Families say they told the utility that is unacceptable, and were told to await an explanation from the vegetation management unit.
“And to date I have heard nothing back,” said Kane.
“They wait for Mother Nature to come take the trees down. It’s cheaper that way,” said Ratner.
Homeowners say hurricane insurance pays only so much.
“So if this tree comes down, the first $50,000 is on me,” said Ratner.
PSEG Long Island sent CBS2 the following statement in response:
“The safety of our customers is PSEG Long Island’s top priority. A PSEG Long Island forester will inspect this area today to confirm tree conditions and address any emergency conditions in advance of a tree trim of the entire circuit next month, which is part of our regular vegetation management schedule. The local tree trim contractors PSEG Long Island utilizes have been very busy cleaning up the more than8,000 trees and large limbs toppled by Tropical Storm Isaias and may not currently be able to prioritize non-emergency work.”
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