WEST Nowra Nowra Fred Dawson has battled with Endeavour Energy over the trimming of the two large conifers in his front yard for 10 years.
Again this week Endeavor crews returned to the Yalwal Road property to trim the trees to ensure there was adequate clearance from the low and high voltage powerlines [1.5m from low voltage and 2m high voltage] that travel past his house.
Mr Dawson says he has no problems with the team trimming the trees but has questioned why other alternatives such as a taller pole east of his property which would lift the lines up out of the trees’ reach or to bundle the lines could not be implemented.
“To me a taller pole is an easy alternative,” he said.
“I’ve seen numerous poles changed throughout the city over the past 12 months.”
He also questioned the ongoing cost to the company of having to return and trim the trees each year.
On Monday he said there was at least six to seven workers on site to carry out the work.
“We had those doing the tree trimming, some on traffic control and others supervising,” Mr Dawson said “they were there from 8am, didn’t start work until after 10, and work continued past 11am.”
An Endeavor Energy spokesperson said changing the network to overhead vertical construction using covered conductor, bundled cable and taller poles would cost approximately $70,000.
“Undergrounding the powerlines would be at an approximate cost of $150,000,” the spokesperson said.
“By comparison, it costs Endeavour on average $300 per span to prune trees in urban areas such as West Nowra.
“The powerlines in Yalwal Road are in a safe and serviceable condition and there is currently no reason for Endeavour Energy to relocate them.
“If Mr Dawson wants the network moved to avoid his trees being pruned, this would need to be funded by him so other customers do not cross-subsidise this change through their power bills.”
As for a taller pole being put in place Endeavor says it is “not feasible in a design sense”.
“Endeavour Energy prunes Mr Dawson’s conifers each year as part of a carefully managed vegetation maintenance program,” the spokesperson said.
“We have previously discussed with Mr Dawson the following options to remove the need to prune his trees annually: either hedging the conifers or removing them altogether at our cost.
“Removal would allow Mr Dawson to plant new trees better suited to growing near powerlines.”
Mr Dawson says he has raised the issues with local MPs Gareth Ward, Shelley Hancock and Paul Green who have each taken his case to the company but to no avail.
“You can only trim these trees so many times before they turn their toes up and die,” Mr Dawson said.
“There was originally five such trees along here but the other three were continually hacked back and eventually died.
“I’ve lived here for 50 years - I was here before there was powerlines, before the road was tarred. We used to get our power direct from the adjacent substation.”