A Nova Scotia Power customer is criticizing the utility for its lack of line maintenance.

Ron Kielback, a retired military electrical engineer, says he has contacted Nova Scotia Power about six trees on the front of his property that are growing into powerlines.

“If you take the lean of that tree and do a little bit of physics there's not much holding the tree up, if that's rotten halfway through,” says Kielback.

Wires rubbing against the tree have stripped the bark and Kielback says one of the bigger branches has broken off and is now hanging suspended by other branches.

“I would suggest that there is an issue that Nova Scotia Power would want to look at, so I called them,” says Kielback. “I was told they would send somebody out within a month, which they did.”

A contractor came to look things over.

Kielback says he was told Nova Scotia Power’s maintenance budget was already depleted for the year, so it would probably be January before the trees were trimmed.

“If you look at the way it's listing and it's rotten at the base of the trunk and it'll be down before January comes, that's my soothsaying prediction,” says Kielback.

Nova Scotia Power says contractors do site visits and provide the scope of work that needs to be done. The work is then prioritized, and if deemed urgent, done within 30 days.

“If a tree was blown over during a storm, but didn't fully come down and might come down in the next storm, we would take that down,” says Bev Ware, of Nova Scotia Power.

Otherwise, there are groupings – within three months or six months.

Kielback's situation was put in the three month category.

Nova Scotia Power says it still has money left in this year's tree trimming budget. In fact, between now and the end of December, the utility says it will spend another $1.5 million on work across the province.

“We also have an application before the Utility and Review Board to increase our budget by $10 million,” says Ware.

Nova Scotia Power is waiting on a decision on that application, which, if approved, would essentially double the budget. Right now the budget is at $10.4 million a year.

“I don't know how far in that rot is, but that tree’s coming down in the next high wind, is my prediction. So maybe it'll be urgent then, I don't know,” says Kielback.

Kielback says his biggest concern is the loss of power for a preventable issue. He says Nova Scotia Power could do a little preventative work now to avoid the grief a power outage would cause his neighbourhood.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jackie Foster