Dominion Energy, formerly South Carolina Electric & Gas, is scheduled to begin trimming trees in the Town that are close to power lines in early December. The process will take approximately three months and is necessary to help prevent the loss of power caused by downed trees and wayward limbs during severe weather. This periodic trimming happens usually every four to five years, depending upon the utility company.
Town staff members are working with Dominion Energy representatives to coordinate and notify residents and businesses of when and where the tree-trimming will occur. Additionally, the Town’s social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, will provide updates throughout this process.
“Bluffton residents are fiercely protective of the Town’s natural resources and beauty, so nearly every time an utility company trims trees to mitigate potentially hazards to power lines, some folks are understandingly concerned about protecting the trees and preserving the aesthetics of our town,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “I want to assure folks that the Town is working with the utility companies to notify residents, cause as little disruption as possible and balance the protection of trees against safety precautions.”
In October 2020, Town Council adopted the Town’s standard operating procedure (SOP) and protocol for these periodic tasks. Per the SOP, the Town will have an ad-hoc committee overseeing the right-of-way maintenance task including members of the Town’s Beautification Committee and a local arborist.
“In the past when utility companies have trimmed trees, there seems to be several concerns about exaggerated or unaesthetically cutting,” Sulka said. “Companies are following utility industry standards which may look and feel different than if you are trimming a tree or bush on your own lawn. Again, town staff members are working and overseeing the process to reassure residents the cutting is required to meet safety and operational requirements.”
Additionally, town staff members also want to make people aware that debris piles will be removed however, there are situations where a pile may remain in a certain spot until the removal crew is dispatched.
If residents or business owners have any questions or concerns during this process, please contact Kevin Icard, planning & community development manager, 843.706.4529.