Trimming away the trouble to keep your lights on

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — They look pretty, but their consequences can be ugly.

That’s why Dayton Power and Light trims trees across 2,000 miles of its lines each year. At that rate it covers its entire system every five years.

“We will generally trim on a species specific basis,” says Mark Vest, Director of Operations with Dayton Power and Light. “The trees that are fast growers we try to get 12 to 14 feet clearance so we can get good clearance until we’re back out with our next cycle.”

That means if your tree is overhanging the power lines, like the one we found on Valley Street in Dayton, crews will likely cut it back. That’s something some homeowners aren’t happy about.

“We work with our customers,” Vest says. “We talk to our customers ahead of the trimming. Our contractors go door to door before any trimming is done.”

It wasn’t trees but nine power poles that snapped outside of Waynesville overnight.

The poles are inspected every 10 years. Those poles were looked at in the last five or six years and considered healthy poles.

“We do a lot of maintenance to harden our system but some of it we’re at the mercy of the weather,” Vest says.

Dayton Power and Light trims trees year round. The cost is $12 to $14 million a year.

We wanted to know if the work is paying off for power customers.

“We invest a lot of money in our tree trimming program and we feel it really pays great dividends both from a reliability of service and safety for our customers and workers,” Vest says. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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