Duke customer with tree issue gets results in St. Petersburg

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Darryl Raulerson stood with his wife Lori in their driveway in St. Petersburg and watched as a crew from Duke Energy took down a tree in a neighboring yard.

It’s a tree that Darryl has been concerned with for some time. But, he thought this day might never come.

Last month, Raulerson called Duke Energy to ask to have a crew come out and look at the tree. It was scraping against live power lines. So much so, that the lines had scraped off the bark of the tree. But, much to Raulerson’s disappointment, the arborist with the crew that came out didn’t see any issue.

Raulerson contacted 8 On Your Side.

WFLA’s Chip Osowski contacted Duke and asked about the situation. The company issued the following statement:

“The safety of our customers and line workers is a top priority for Duke Energy. We received the customer’s complaint on Nov. 3 and visited this morning (Nov. 13) to investigate, within our 10 business day timeline for non-immediate concerns. A vegetation management coordinator, who is also a certified arborist, inspected the tree that is located on a nearby neighbor’s property and also reviewed additional spans of power lines in the general area. Through a visual inspection from the ground, the coordinator found there to be no structural defects or damage that would cause an immediate threat to our lines. As such, it currently meets our reliability and safety specifications. As a courtesy, we will have another field representative, also a certified arborist, confirm the findings.”

That second arborist determined that the tree needed to go.

Raulerson is thanking 8 On Your Side.

“I just really appreciate you guys. Really do. Made it easy for me. One phone call and it’s done,” said Raulerson. “Really nice that they are taking this tree out. I know that if you guys, Channel 8, didn’t come out, I probably would’ve gave up until something happened.”

Peveeta Persaud, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy appreciates Raulerson’s persistence. She encourages all customers to report issues they see with Duke lines or other equipment.

“We inspect our lines and our equipment on a regular basis and all of those processes are in place, however, we want our customers to be vigilant as well,” said Persaud. “If you see something, give us a call and let us know. “

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