Tree deemed electricity hazard, owner says company has had five years to fix problem

Local News

UPDATE: AEP has now sent a crew to cut the tree branches that were obstructing the electric lines.

De Leon was also given clearance to cut the rest of the tree on his own.

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — A Harlingen man’s tree has electric wires running through it and crews from American Electric Power Texas (AEP) said they are the only ones who can take it down.

However, it has remained that way for five years.

“I had reached out to them in the beginning when I wanted to take the tree down, and they said no because all the wires and main poles run through that tree,” said Marty De Leon whose tree is an electricity hazard according to AEP.

De Leon said that his old electric fuse box caught on fire over five years ago. After it was replaced, AEP came to connect the power but the lights did not come back on.

“Someone got up there towards the tree in one of those lifters and saw that the line, where the tree and the pole meet, it had been disconnected,” said De Leon.

After the power was restored to De Leon’s home, AEP warned him that the tree was a hazard. De Leon said that AEP planned to trim the tree, but never did.

“I lose electricity like first hand, my lights are the first to go,” said De Leon.

KVEO spoke with AEP spokesperson Eladio Jaimez, who said they have no record of any incidents from De Leon’s residence.

“I couldn’t speak to that because we couldn’t find any record of it,” said Jaimez.

“So, there are no records from this house?,” said KVEO’s Iris Karami.

“Right,” said Jaimez.

However, De Leon took the record for himself. During that time, he called his electric company so they could make note of the incident.

“So, the date for that was the 9th of December, 2014 and I’m seeing where the call was at 3:06 p.m.,” said an Ambit Energy representative on the phone with De Leon.

Jaimez said he does not know why they have no record of any incidents at De Leon’s house, but they will resolve the problem on Tuesday.

“We have generated our own work order and we will have a crew out there tomorrow [July 20] to inspect and assess the situation and go ahead and start trimming those trees,” said Jaimez.

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