A power struggle of sorts is going on in one South Roanoke neighborhood. It's known as Jefferson Hills, located behind Virginia Western Community College.
Appalachian Power plans to replace existing power poles with ones that are five feet taller with a cross arm at the top.
The company says the upgrades are essential. Todd Burns, Appalachian Power's spokesperson, told News 7 "the circuits that are serving our customers in the southern part of Roanoke City are overloaded and we got a new substation coming to alleviate the problem."
Some neighbors are unhappy about the project. They fear property values will decrease. They wonder why can't APCO bury the power lines underground. They're also angry APCO plans to knock down nearly a hundred trees.
Johnnie Lindahl, a Jefferson Hills resident, fears the project will ruin their quality of life. "Appalachian is going to take this away from us. We don't have to imagine what it's going to look like, we can by looking at all the ribbons on all the 100 trees they want to take down."
Appalachian Power doesn't believe property values will decrease. The company says similar power poles are currently in nearby neighborhoods. As for burying the power poles underground, Todd Burns told News 7 "our early estimates are this project is probably going to be $300,00, the underground estimates are coming in close to $4,000,000. Burns says the company would have to pass that cost onto customers, which means higher bills.
Appalachian Power says some of the trees would have to be knocked down anyway because of routine maintenance. The company plans to plant about 50 trees to replace some that are being knocked down.
Opponents took their fight to Roanoke City Council on Tuesday. Council Members were sympathetic but say they can't regulate power companies.
Residents realize there may be very little they can do to stop Appalachian Power but they're not giving up. Johnnie Lindahl, a Jefferson Hills neighbor, told News 7 "you are going to have little gray haired ladies chained to the trees, really we're very passionate. We'll fight to the last piece of saw dust, it's shameful."
Appalachian Power says the work will begin in the next few weeks and should be completed by the fall.