OKLAHOMA CITY - Some homeowners are pushing back after learning OG&E contractors are ready to do work in their yards without their presence, or even permission.
Tyonne Lone Elk said she first learned about the imminent work a couple weeks ago from flyers going around her neighborhood for tree-trimming, digging, and spraying, all from OG&E contractors.
"Most of us who got the tree-trimming notices don’t even have any trees to be trimmed," Lone Elk said, "so we were all very confused."
Then a couple days ago, she saw some of the contractors at work on her street.
"I'm like, 'what are you doing?'" she said. "One of them said, 'We're to spray poison, kill plants,' and I'm like, 'Uh, no you're not.'"
She shooed them away from her neighbors home, past hers, and down the street. Lone Elk said even during that short interaction, she had a bad reaction to the spray.
"I've got asthma, my whole family has allergies, you are not spraying poison anywhere near my property,'" she told them. "I said, 'You need to get going. You need to go.'"
But she said it's more than a health concern. She insists there's nothing in her yard that poses a danger to the power lines, and she's not okay with any one going into her yard to do work without her consent.
"Coming and spraying several feet of my yard with powerful poison for no reason is absolutely ridiculous," Lone Elk said. "If they can identify the problem, they can easily say, 'Take care of it or else,'" she said. "Not a big deal."
She's not the only one. Her neighbor Alberto Velasquez said it's a safety issue. He has never liked the idea of someone in his yard unless he was or someone else was there.
"It's not like we're not home and we don't know what they're doing," Velasquez said. "I'd rather be watching someone do their job, knowing that they're doing the job properly, and not doing anything else they shouldn't."
Lone Elk said she reached out to OG&E twice but couldn't get answers on what was being sprayed or why it was necessary.
In a statement to News 4, and OG&E spokesperson said:
"These are legitimate flyers from OG&E contractors that we hire to do vegetation management work and line work. The flyers are distributed in advance so customers will know to expect workers who will need access to the customers’ yard.
Both flyers describe the work that OG&E will be doing. In the case of vegetation management, the flyer states that “Licensed Applicators will apply herbicides to brush and immature trees that have come up around our lines.” The flyer also notes that our contractors use only “safe, approved herbicides that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Oklahoma.”
Both flyers have the contractors’ phone numbers to call with questions.
I understand with all the information about scams customer may be extra wary. If they are concerned, they should call us at the number on their OG&E bill and our representatives will be glad to answer their questions.
The spraying is necessary to keep the vegetation from growing into our lines and causing outages, not just for this customer but for everyone else on that line. Vegetation management plays an important role in providing reliable electric service."
The spokesperson also said if customers have questions or concerns about a planned herbicide spray, or other planned work, they should call the numbers belonging to the contractors listed on the flyers, and OG&E will send a coordinator to handle their residence separately.