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Monday, March 9, 2015

Staff Report to the Michigan Public Service Commission Hazardous Trees and Pilot Programs.

 The excerpt below is from the report  prepared by the the Staff of the Michigan Public Safety Commission and used in making determinations at the December 4th 2014 meeting. It is of interest to residents of the City of Bloomfield Hills because it provides detailed information on the Pilot Program City Commissioner  Michael Coakley was working on.with DTE. 
To read the 33 page staff report in it's entirety  click here. It has a table of contents and  is relatively jargon free and easy to read.

Hazardous Tree Programs 
A significant challenge faced by DTE Electric is the negative impacts on the distribution system arising from trees outside of the utility easements or right of way (ROW). DTE Electric currently has a pilot program to remove a limited amount of such hazardous trees. This pilot program currently consists of removing trees beyond DTE Electric’s current ROW borders in areas of poor reliability or during system upgrades. This program targets structurally unsound trees that lie outside the row 
and pose an imminent threat to nearby electric infrastructure.
 Removing trees outside of easement requires owner consent prior to removal. Obtaining this consent is often difficult, especially if owner does not live on the affected land parcel, thus limiting the effectiveness of the hazardous tree removal program. 
DTE Electric is currently working with select municipalities to develop a streamlined process for addressing these hazardous trees and conveying the benefits of such tree removal in terms of increased reliability. 

DTE Electric is currently working with Bloomfield Hills and St. Clair Shores to develop a community wide action plan for hazardous tree removal. 
In the future, DTE Electric will develop a hazardous tree removal program to better serve their customers. 
Staff recommendations: 

Staff believes both utilities should use the results of their pilot programs to develop an outside of ROW hazard tree removal program in 2015. This program should be incorporated into their normal vegetation management program so outages caused by hazardous trees outside the ROW (Road right of way) in future years will be minimized.
(Staff Report Pages (13 and 14).

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