Crews working on behalf of Eversource have been taking advantage of nice weather lately to work on trimming trees in town.
Of the utility’s statewide effort, the most extensive work will be done here in Wilton, where 132 miles of electric lines will see tree work done.
Deputy Tree Warden Lars Cherichetti said he marked about 20 town-owned trees a few weeks ago to be removed by Eversource contractor Lewis Tree. The roads involved include Old Boston, Huckleberry Hill, Glen Hill, Kent, Kent Hills, and Chipmunk Lane.
“Eversource guidelines for ground-to-sky pruning are not compatible with either the health of our suburban forest nor our aesthetic,” Cherichetti told The Bulletin in an email.
“They have worked with me so that healthy town-owned trees will be left with a symmetrical crown to reduce the long-term hazards of a declining tree. I have worked with Lewis Tree to evaluate the trees slated for removal on an individual basis rather than severe pruning of otherwise healthy town trees. Homeowners are encouraged to look at their trees in a similar way.”
The tree-timming is part of a $75-million investment this year for Eversource that will see trees clipped along more than 4,200 miles of overhead lines around the state.
“Our goal is reliable service and reducing power outages,” said Mitch Gross, spokesman for Eversource.
“We trim a quarter of our 17,000 miles of overhead lines each year,” he said, adding that this year it is “Wilton’s turn.” Other towns that will see trees trimmed along more than 100 miles of lines are East Hampton (117 miles), Stonington (115 miles), and Stamford (111 miles). Tree workers return to a town about every four years, he said.
“Trees are in bad shape across the state,” Gross said. “The drought has caused a lot of problems and [arborists] are seeing weakened root structures. They are coming down more frequently because of wind.”
Two insect pests — the emerald ash borer and gypsy moths — are also taking their toll, he said.
All of this, across the state, is creating significant challenges to the electrical system.
Tree trimming takes place year-round, Gross said, weather permitting. Eversource notifies customers in advance if trimming is required on their property. Homeowners have become more accepting over the years, he said.
“We’ve found out over time customers understand the need to trim,” he said. Trees are the No. 1 reason for power outages, and the severe storms of several years ago caused long and widespread outages that people remember.
“We’ve seen over time more acceptance,” he said. “We even get more requests now to keep trimming.”
The program has been successful, he added. “We’ve seen the reductions in lengths and severity of outages.”
Eversource reminds people that customers are responsible for tree maintenance on their own property, including keeping branches away from the lower-voltage service wires connecting their homes and businesses to the main utility lines on the street. Eversource strongly recommends contacting a professional tree service to perform this work. For details on the company’s comprehensive vegetation management program, visit Eversource.com.