Xcel scheduling error creating problems for tree trimming company

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DENVER -- Monday night's late-season snowstorm led to a busy Tuesday for tree trimming crews across the Front Range.

Heavy, wet snow caused many branches and limbs to break, covering Denver-area sidewalks and roads for much of the morning.

"The damage that we're experiencing right now is pretty classic for Denver," says David Boswell of Ross Tree Company.

Boswell says companies like his have had a difficult spring due to a scheduling error with Xcel Energy.

That error made it difficult for arborists to schedule so-called "power loop drops," in which Xcel crews disconnect/de-energize electric lines near trees so that private tree trimmers can perform work.

"There's been times when we've been at the job site, ready to prune a tree, and my guys can't even get in the tree because there's a live power loop in the middle of the canopy," says Boswell.

At least three other tree trimming companies confirmed the same problems to FOX31.

Boswell says it's led to fewer trees being trimmed this spring and more unstable canopies for spring storms.

"When they don't help us perform our job safely, it puts us in danger and the homeowner in danger with a potentially dangerous tree," he says.

A spokesperson for Xcel Energy released the following statement to the Problem Solvers:

"It appears that Xcel Energy had technical issues with the appointment booking tool that the call center uses to schedule loop drops for tree trimming. I’m told that problem existed from about mid-March to late-April. As of last week, the booking tool is available again and customers can schedule appointments through the call center. We do limit the number of appointments per area, per day, but as long as there are vacancies in the schedule, the customer should be able to book appointments."

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