Michigan Utility Company Facing $54 Million Lawsuit After Unapproved Tree Removal

Tree removal prices

There are a number of situations in which the tree removal process might be necessary, whether a tree on your property is dead or diseased or simply unwanted. Because of this, it is always important to consider a variety of different factors, from local requirements to tree removal prices, before undertaking this project. If you skip this step, you may find that the tree trimming costs are even higher than you expected. A utility company in Detroit is in the process of learning just that: in January 2015, homeowners filed suit against DTE Energy in response to the company’s decision to clear cut trees on their properties without permission.

In late December 2014, the Michigan Public Service Commission ordered DTE Energy to be more aggressive about removing trees in the area. Given Michigan’s famously cold winters, this order was designed to help prevent outages, which have previously left some homeowners without power for several days. In response, DTE Energy stated that they had already launched a policy, called the Ground to Sky project, to help counter more severe winter weather. However, according to a new lawsuit from homeowners in Bloomfield Hills and the Bloomfield Township, many trees that were removed under this initiative were outside of their right-of-way. The homeowners have complained that many of the trees were over a century old, but the tree removal contractors DTE Energy hired clear-cut entire areas, replacing forested areas with huge strips of mud.

DTE Energy has stated that their company regularly trims trees year-round to improve the reliability of their services and promote safety. They say that their tree removal services follow guidelines from Michigan Public Service Commission and National Arborist Association, and also claim that they inform property owners before conducting any work. However, the Ground to Sky project has been halted in the Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township areas for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, if the lawsuit is successful, their tree trimming costs could reach $54 million, on top of the several million DTE Energy already spent on the tree trimming costs themselves. If you’re planning to remove trees from your property, don’t make a similar, costly mistake: check your local regulations before you hiring a tree removal company.

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