We’ve written time and again about neighbors’ complaints about Oncor electric’s tree-trimming practices. In fact, usually words other than “trimming”, such as “butchering” and “chopping” have been used to describe the aggressiveness with which the company has gone after some of the neighborhood’s big old trees as they make way for power lines.

Homeowners have, in cases, met Oncor’s arborists with matched aggression. Take, for example, the guy who sat in his driveway with a shotgun to protect his mum’s beloved oak. Or the East Dallas 50-somthing who climbed her tree and waited, pellet gun in hand, for Oncor to arrive.

A Lake Highlands resident Ned Cornelius (who is disappointingly rational compared to the folks mentioned above) sent us these photos of a 50-year-old red oak, just before Oncor came out and chopped it down entirely this past weekend.

The tree was in the back of his Shoreview home. He says it was the tallest on the street and it shielded his home from the afternoon sun.

When Mr. Cornelius asked, Why now? The tree has been there 20 years and you’ve always just trimmed it in the past, he says he was told that the tree was a culprit in repeated neighborhood power outages and that the removal was in response to numerous complaints about outages from residents to the Public Utility Commission.

Oncor spokesperson Megan Wright tells us that this particular tree’s trunk was within a foot of the primary line, which serves not only that neighborhood, but also several businesses, medical offices, etc.  She says its removal over the weekend was part of scheduled maintenance. “We wish we never had to cut any trees down,” she says, “but it is our obligation to provide safe reliable service.”

In other words, the pruning and removal of trees (even big beautiful and decades-old ones) is a necessary evil if we want our televisions and lights to stay on. Thank you for your sacrifice, old tree.

Oncor calls its tree pruning and clearing program Vegetation Management. The VM section of their website states that overgrown and poorly positioned trees can pose threats to not only power lines but also homes and human life. Oncor seemingly has made an effort over the last few years, as evidenced by the existence of the aforementioned section of its website, to quell homeowners’ tree-trimming anxieties.