Eversource has targeted the 13 worst performing circuits and arborists will be addressing vegetation to improve resiliency in those areas.
By Ronni Newton
Eversource announced Thursday that a new data-driven approach to vegetation management has been launched in 13 communities throughout the state, looking to improve electrical resiliency in the areas that are traditionally hardest hit with storm-related outages.
Based on analysis of 10 years of outage data, West Hartford is among the 13 communities with a vulnerable circuit, specifically a 0.3-mile segment in the Lockwood Terrace area, located just north of Park Road in the eastern end of town.
The program, which is a collaborative approach between Eversource arborists, towns, and property owners, will focus on the planting of “appropriate utility-compatible trees” as well as pollinator plants in place of existing trees in the “fall zone,” to help strengthen the grid by preventing limbs or entire trees from falling onto the wires. According to Eversource, 90% of outages that occur during storms are the result of tree damage, and severe weather has become more commonplace.
“We’ve already met with the town, and we plan to go door-to-door and work directly with about 50 customers to get the tree work done,” Kate Rayner, an Eversource spokesperson, said of the forthcoming work in the Lockwood Terrace area. “The critical device – a fuse, has had three outages caused by trees in the past five years totaling more than 1 million minutes of outage time for West Hartford residents.”
Statewide, there are 15 segments in 13 communities that have been identified. In addition to West Hartford, the other communities involved in the program include Chester, Clinton, Guilford, Mansfield, Middletown, Naugatuck, Newtown, Redding, Sharon, Windham, and Woodstock.
“Our goal is to find a collaborative solution with our customers and communities that has the potential to significantly reduce tree-related outages during storms,” Eversource Vice President of Operation Services Steve Driscoll said in a statement. “We have the data that shows how and where trees are impacting service to our customers and we’re looking to develop new ways to turn the worst performing lines into the most reliable circuits in our state, while planting appropriate trees to maintain the state’s character.”
According to Eversource, the total length of the segments is approximately 20 miles – “a relatively small area in comparison to the roughly 4,000 miles the energy company trims across the state each year and more than 16,000 miles on the system,” but will protect the infrastructure for more than 8,200 customers as well as public safety and other critical facilities.
The program has already launched in Redding.
“Connecticut has a tree problem,” Driscoll said. “Drought, invasive insects, and overall age are taking a toll on the state’s trees. We’d like to do something about it and at the same time improve reliability for our customers. Our goal is to collaborate with the communities and customers to educate them on the tree risks and the tree work that can have a positive impact on day-to-day reliability and resiliency during storms.”
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletterso you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.