Prepared by Valley Women’s Club’s Environmental Committee for the SLV
PG&E has told Supervisor Bruce McPherson’s office that private property owners have the ability to refuse or negotiate with crews for any clearing beyond the standard 4 feet radial clearance from power lines. Crews have authority by the CPUC to go to 12 feet if they have consent from the property owners. (PG&E has not made this clear to local residents. Those who seek to save their trees are often intimidated by verbal warnings of liability.)
Whether already inspected or not, call the PG&E number, 1-877-295-4949, and if you are not satisfied with their response, demand that no action be taken without personal contact by a PG&E supervisor. Follow up with an email to email@example.com – and copy PG&E’s County liaison Joe Foster firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as Supervisor McPherson’s Analyst J.M. Brown JM.Brown@santacruzcounty.us. You may state that you do not consent to any tree-trimming or removal on your property or private road, until you have spoken directly to a PG&E supervisor (not Davey Tree employee) to describe exactly what you will allow regarding vegetation management on your property/private road, and until you have a written agreement with PG&E. (Past experience demonstrates that verbal agreements may not be communicated properly to those doing the work.)
You may want to check your property deed to see what the scope of PG&E’s easement is, if there is a written easement. For example, some the easements in property deeds don’t allow the removal of grapevines and fruit trees.
Letter from PG&E in the mail, flyer or door-hanger, or visit from Davey Tree employee.
If inspected, PG&E states that these are the markings designating trim vs. remove: yellow paint dot at base designates TRIMMING; yellow paint mark with an X, with notice posted on tree, designates REMOVAL. (Please note some people have yellow plastic ribbons tied to trees that apparently designate removal, but this is not mentioned in official descriptions, while others have seen x’s marked in blue, not yellow ink, or the yellow X but with no notice posted on the tree. Don’t wait: if you are unsure about the markings on your property contact PG&E at the number above as soon as possible.)
Places where folks are sharing information:
Facebook: Valley Women’s Club
Facebook: Boulder Creek Neighbors (private group, ask to join if you are from BC)
Facebook: PG&E and SLV Facebook page
 Note: According to GO 95, if PG&E does not have consent from a property owner for the minimum clearances (for most of us this is the 4’ radial clearance) PG&E may provide the property owner with a written statement that the company may seek to recover any costs and liabilities incurred by the company due to its inability to trim or remove vegetation. Locally, PG&E representatives have stated they will not seek to intimidate people with threats of turning off power or liability, adding to the confusion.
DISCLAIMER: The Valley Women’s Club of the San Lorenzo Valley and the Environmental Committee of the VWC give no warranty of any nature whatsoever regarding this posting and/or handout. It is up to each person to decide how to proceed in this matter. You may wish to consult an attorney if you have any concerns.