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(WBIR-Knoxville) Last week, East Tennessee experienced a snow storm; now, there's a possibility for severe weather on Thursday. With storms, there is a possibility of power outages.

According to Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), a sometimes controversial program has helped reduce the number of people losing power from storms.

"The height of the storm we only had 2,000 customers out and that's at the height. 2,000 customers is a very small number considering the size of the storm," said Tracy Hayes, KUB manager of construction.

KUB credits those lower numbers on their Vegetation Management Program. Crews prune trees near or touching power lines on a 3-4 year cycle.

"When that weight gets on those limbs they naturally break. So it's very important that we have proper clearance," Hayes said.

The program has not always been met with support. Larry Silverstein of Knoxville has been vocal about his opposition to the tree trimming.

He emailed 10News, "Most of those outages occur when whole trees fall down, not by a few branches that may be growing too close to power lines. KUB's own statistics from several years ago showed that only 3% of KUB power outages were in this category."

Hayes acknowledged the opposition saying, "There are certain people who may not like getting their trees trimmed but we feel like from a safety standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, it's very important. And you saw the results of that last week."

KUB recently trimmed and cut trees near Cunningham Road in North Knox County. They will soon switch focus to 17 new areas.

"If a tree's in the middle of the yard and a limb falls over on it, that can't be helped. But to keep them out from under lines, I think that's a great idea," said Roger Bowles, who lives near Westland Drive, one of the upcoming targeted areas.

Hayes said KUB is monitoring Thursday night's forecast and will have additional resources ready, if needed.

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