Beaufort News

Land clearing for utility poles irks Lady's Island residents

Some Lady's Island residents are upset with SCE&G for cutting trees as part of its upgrade of a key power line.

The utility says the work is necessary to provide safe, reliable electric service.

THE RESIDENTS

Jim Bradin, who lives off Oyster Catcher Road, says workers have cleared a 10-foot swath on each side of the new power poles.

He doesn't question SCE&G's legal authority to do the work, but he thinks the utility could have achieved the same objective with less cutting.

"The question is, do they need to (cut) all the way to the ground?" Bradin said. "It's ugly, and I think it's absolutely out of order."

He said he and his daughter are upset vegetation has been cut all the way to a fence near her house, which is down the street from his.

"I'm angry they've done this to my neighborhood," he said. "They could've done it more delicately, and they didn't, and they don't seem to give a damn that they didn't."

THE UTILITY

The utility says it is "trimming trees for clearance from Pigeon Point in Beaufort to the Lady's Island substation" to upgrade a 46,000-volt line to accommodate 115,000 volts, spokeswoman Kim Asbill said in an e-mail. The tree work should be done by the end of the month, she said.

Damage from trees, tree limbs or other vegetation is SCE&G's leading cause of power outages, and reliability has improved by 85 percent on circuits the utility has trimmed, she said.

"We have a responsibility to provide safe and reliable service to all customers in our system," Asbill said. "Key to meeting that responsibility is having the ability to work within established rights of way to ensure trees and branches are not interfering with our transmission and distribution lines."

She did not immediately know if the lines are in service or, if not, when they would be.

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