Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Is NYSEG Employing OUT OF STATE Tree Company To Trim New York Trees?

For several days now I have watched the trees under and around the power lines in our rural area being trimmed as I drove from here to there, visiting various small communities here in Sullivan County taking care of business and chores that needed my attention. Having our trees trimmed to where they are under our power-lines is a good thing, decreases the chance of winter storms taking down lines, leaving us without power. For that service, I thank NYSEG.

The company doing the work for NYSEG came into our small hamlet today, giving me a chance to take a closer look. Their workers were polite, and did good work. When asked if they could shape the one tree by our little water garden area (they were going to be topping some 12 foot off of said tree) they were very cooperative in working with our request. In short, Reese out of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania has done a very good job, and should be commended. That being said, shouldn't our trees here in New York state be trimmed by New York state citizens?

My problem with the tree trimming lays with NYSEG and who they contracted with...their business supplies about 40 percent of upstate New York with power, providing services for almost 900, 000 New York citizens in rural parts of our state. Guessing here that we rural New Yorkers put a lot of dollars into the cash register of NYSEG...yet, they are not keeping that money local, are not hiring OUR CITIZENS to do the work that we could be doing.

Perhaps I am wrong, but feel whenever possible our corporate citizens have a duty to give back, to keep our dollars in our communities. Tree trimming services in and around power lines here in New York should be done by New Yorkers, not by a company out of state that employs out of state workers.

NYSEG needs to think globally, BUT SPEND LOCALLY. Perhaps the problem is NYSEG's parent company, Iberdrola USA which is part of Iberdrola SA out of Spain where almost 70 percent of its customers reside. This international company that owns NYSEG loves to siphon our money up the chain to the parent company, but apparently does not feel it owes any alliance to the citizens and companies here in our area that are generating their income stream.

A call to NYSEG on this question was more than frustrating...first, I spent about three minutes having to push buttons as I worked my way through their automated system before I was placed on hold to wait for a customer service representative. Once on hold, I was briefly informed that the average wait time would be 8-12 minutes. The actual wait time ended up being not 8-12 minutes, but 21 minutes. Add to that time the three minutes it took pushing buttons, and speaking to an actual human being took 24 minutes...maybe NYSEG needs to look at adding more people to its customer service program?...perhaps some of our qualified, yet unemployed citizens?

As to my basic question, "Does NYSEG have a moral and ethical responsibility to give back to the communities they serve by hiring locally?", the company seemed reluctant to address that question directly, instead stating, "We subcontract out our easement work to whoever happens to be available, and there are times when that work does go to out of state contractors." Which begs the question, "How often does this work go to out of state contractors?" Furthermore, as food for thought, are the bidding criteria designed in such a fashion as to make it impossible for smaller local companies to bid? IE...if a local company can handle say doing the line easement for 50 Square miles, but the bidding criteria are 150 square miles, you instantly eliminate small local companies from the bidding process, and from my perspective that is wrong.