Oklahoma woman claims OG&E contractors sprayed pesticides in yard without consent
YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) - A woman in Yukon claims OG&E contractors sprayed pesticides in her backyard without her consent.
The woman said she takes pride in her yard and never uses chemicals in the ground, so it was quite the surprise when she saw OG&E contractors letting themselves into her yard with asking and then spraying pesticides.
“Other people need to know that it's happening, and they need to be aware. They [OG&E] need to give them the opportunity to decline it if they want... There is no benefit to anyone, but OG&E... If you look this product up, there are records of it being harmful to humans, to animals, to plants, to vegetation,” said Brandy Becerra, Yukon resident.
Brandy Becerra said she was in the middle of washing her dog when she heard a knock at her door. She was unable to answer it then but saw some people in her backyard minutes later.
“I said, Excuse me, what are you doing? I think you were at the wrong house. And they go, well, we're doing a tree growth retardant injection. We're contractors with OG&E. And I was like, I didn't give you approval or authorization to do that,” said Becerra.
Becerra then said one of the workers took her to the truck to get information about the product, but in the meantime, the other contractors continued their work.
“So, I thought, well, if I'm inquiring about this, they would have stopped while I was talking to the gentleman... They were coming back out with the hose, and I was like, did you or did you inject that? He goes, yeah, we already injected it,” said Becerra.
Becerra is frustrated after the workers told her if no one answers the door, they’re told to go into the yard and do the work anyways.
“So, in other words, they can just go in if you're not home and you would never know that they were injecting this into the soil, into your tree and surrounding areas,” said Becerra.
KFOR reached out to OG&E. A spokesperson said in a statement, “Before work is performed in a neighborhood, customers are notified via phone call and by our crews visiting homes to answer questions. If no one is home, our crews leave behind materials explaining the process, and when the crews arrive to perform the work, they knock on the door before accessing the area needed to complete the work.”
But Becerra said she didn’t get the notification.
“My phone rejects unknown numbers. So I never got that robo call. And this is a tactic for OG&E to get away with doing this kind of process, without letting the homeowner make that decision. It is our decision if we want to retard the growth of our trees,” said Becerra.
The OG&E spokesperson also said, ”We understand and appreciate the value trees add to homes and neighborhoods; our crews preserve that value as much as possible. Trimming and treating trees and other vegetation near power lines and electrical equipment is critical to ensuring reliable electricity, including hardening the grid against severe weather and protecting the safety of our customers and crews.”
But Brandy Becerra said the damage is already done and warns other homeowners about her experience.
OG&E also told KFOR, “We understand the frustration this customer experienced about work done to treat trees on their property and our team reached out today and talked with them directly to answer questions about the process. To control the estimated 2.3 million trees growing near overhead power lines across our service area, our crews trim trees on a regular schedule and sometimes apply environmentally friendly tree growth regulators that slow the growth of trees while maintaining the tree’s overall health.”