As part of a comprehensive plan to increase reliability and reduce future power outages, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) has launched an expanded tree work program that includes significantly more routine and enhanced tree trimming in 2012 across the state.

This year, CL&P plans to spend $53.5 million on tree trimming – an increase of approximately $27 million over 2011. The expanded tree work will be performed along 4,900 miles of the company’s utility poles and wires, an increase of 1,600 miles.

The additional tree work includes:

  • 1,100 additional miles of routine tree trimming.
  • 500 additional miles of enhanced tree trimming and tree removal.
Annually, CL&P conducts routine and enhanced tree trimming on its 17,000 miles of infrastructure.

“Expanded tree work is a critical part of our plan to reduce the vulnerability of our distribution system to outages,” said Bill Quinlan, CL&P’s vice president of Emergency Preparedness. “Emergency preparedness is a top priority at CL&P, and significantly increasing our tree-trimming program is one way we’re demonstrating that commitment to our customers. We’ll be working closely with our municipal partners to coordinate our efforts.”

Quinlan said the criteria for identifying areas where increased tree work is needed to improve system resiliency includes

  • Electrical circuits with poor performance during the last three years
  • Sections of circuits where enhanced tree trimming has not been performed in the past
Specifications for routine tree trimming include:
  • 8-foot side clearance, 10-foot clearance below wires and 15-foot clearance over wires
  • On certain main lines, limbs above the wires may be removed
  • Property owners are notified by mail and are asked to respond within 15 days before routine work begins.

    Specifications for enhanced tree trimming include an 8-foot clearance zone from either side of the utility poles and wires, from the ground up, including:

    • All overhanging limbs
    • Tall brush and small trees within the clearance zone
    • Dead or diseased trees with the potential to cause outages
    Consent forms and details about enhanced tree trimming will be delivered to each property owner in advance of any work performed. Property owner consent is required in writing.

    Municipal Outreach
    CL&P arborists have begun reaching out to municipal leaders in the towns and cities served by CL&P to review tree-trimming plans and coordinate them with local efforts. Permits from local and state agencies will be obtained in advance, and CL&P will coordinate with municipal and state partners regarding parking and traffic control where necessary.

    “We’re passionate about proper tree care and maintenance,” said Dave Goodson, manager of Vegetation Management at CL&P. “Our goal is to strike the right balance between everyone’s need for reliable electricity and proper tree maintenance by working closely with our customers.”

    Contractor agreements with CL&P
    CL&P has begun hiring approximately 100 additional contractor tree crews to perform the expanded tree work, which is expected to continue through December 2012.

    • Contractors will notify and work directly with property owners on behalf of CL&P
    • Contractor vehicles will display CL&P signage
    • CL&P will coordinate and oversee all contractors performing tree work
    • Debris generated from the work will be removed
    • Property owners may have wood chips or cut wood at no cost
    For enhanced tree work, the contractors will typically leave detailed information with the property owner and then return to discuss the work with them. The two primary contractors doing the work will be Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and Lewis Tree Service, Inc.

    Public Education
    Outreach to CL&P customers will focus on the shared responsibility of tree maintenance to ensure electric reliability; planting appropriate trees near utility poles and wires; and the importance of being prepared before storms.