SHREVEPORT, La. – We love our trees, except when the wind blows and the lightning strikes. Then those trees can become a curse. Foster Campbell knows. “I told my wife we ​​are going to cut all the trees around my house, if one of those trees had fallen on my house it would have killed us.”

As Public Service Commissioner, Campbell is checking that SWEPCO is doing its job. He understands the record breaking winds are not SWEPCO’s fault.

Foster Campbell

Foster Campbell, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner

“We have too many outages when it’s pretty days. I’m really concerned, that’s why we are investigating how they operate to make sure they are doing the best possible,” Campbell said.

SWEPCO counters that and says the last several years have been unusually wet and stormy.

Michael Corbin

Michael Corbin, SWEPCO

“You have 60-70 mph winds and a 100 year old pine tree falls over a power line there is not much we can do,” Michael Corbin, SWEPCO.

By the way, those trees that we all love were not planted by SWEPCO.

“SWEPCO has never built a line over a tree, the line is there first and a homeowner a business owner somebody plants a tree under or near an electric line.”

And eventually this happens, also SWEPCO says it is cutting and trimming trees with a budget that is a quarter century old.

SWEPCO crews

“It just cost $18 million more in 2010 does not cover but about half the line mileage that it did then as it does now.”

To that, Campbell says, “For SWEPCO to say they don’t have any money that’s baloney, straight up baloney, they have money I want to see how they are spending the money, I’m not sure they are spending it wisely.”