Submitted by Mitch Gross, Eversource
(June 23, 2022) —- With trees causing 90% of outages during storms, and severe weather happening more often, Eversource is launching a new, data-driven approach to vegetation management. The energy company has identified electric lines on its network with the worst reliability performance and is looking to collaborate with individual property owners and their community leaders to look at the vegetation along those lines. Using 10 years of outage data, Eversource arborists are working to understand how concentrated tree work, including retention and planting of appropriate utility-compatible trees, can strengthen the grid to make it more resilient during powerful storms.
“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,” said Eversource Vice President of Operation Services Steve Driscoll. “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.”
Using reliability data and storm outage history over the past 10 years, Eversource has identified 15 segments of the electric system in 13 communities to include in the program – Chester, Clinton, Guilford, Mansfield, Middletown, Naugatuck, Newtown, Redding, Sharon, West Hartford, Windham and Woodstock. 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. The work in these data-selected problem areas involves tree removals within a targeted “fall zone” on more than 700 properties to help protect critical electric infrastructure for more than 8,200 customers, and critical facilities such as fire and police stations and community storm shelters.
At the same time, Eversource will work with individual property owners on opportunities to retain and plant new “wire friendly” trees and pollinator plants in appropriate locations.
The process kicked off in Redding. Eversource is in talks with local leaders to determine if the community would like to work together to improve reliability. Tree wardens in each community will serve an integral role in the program, working collaboratively with the company to address this issue while being mindful of aesthetics.
“Connecticut has a tree problem,” added Driscoll. “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.”
Eversource will be reaching out to municipal leaders in the other communities to discuss segment locations and company arborists will work closely with community leaders and residents in the coming weeks to discuss opportunities to work together.
Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2021 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies. Celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship., Eversource transmits and delivers electricity to 1.27 million customers in 149 cities and towns, provides natural gas to 249,000 customers in 74 communities, and supplies water to approximately 207,000 customers in 56 communities across Connecticut. Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 9,200 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, the company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally-recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit eversource.com, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. For more information on our water services, visit aquarionwater.com.