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CL&P's $300M Plan To Prevent Power Outages OK'd

The three storms over 2011 and 2012 prompted Connecticut Light & Power to begin an aggressive five year plan to make Fairfield County and the state better prepared for future severe weather.
The three storms over 2011 and 2012 prompted Connecticut Light & Power to begin an aggressive five year plan to make Fairfield County and the state better prepared for future severe weather. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith, file photo

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Extensive statewide tree trimming and thicker power lines are part of Connecticut Light & Power's $300 million plan to fight the power outages residents have endured in recent years.

The five-year program will focus on tree trimming; installing coated, thicker-gauge wire; and strengthening utility poles, cross-arms and system equipment. The plan will cost the company $300 million and was recently approved by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

"This investment will benefit our customers by improving the day-to-day reliability of our system and making it less vulnerable to outages caused by extreme weather," said Bill Quinlan, CL&P’s senior vice president of emergency preparedness, in a statement.

More than half of the $300 million will go to a tree trimming effort across the state. Fallen branches and downed trees cause most of the power outages during severe weather, the statement from CL&P said.

Tree trimming has reduced outages in some parts of Connecticut, the utility said.

Beginning in 2014 CL&P will install thicker wire that has a protective coating, known as "tree wire," that can better withstand damage from falling branches or trees.Utility poles and cross-arms also will be replaced.

The work will be concentrated in areas that "have historically experienced a number of outages during day-to-day operations or as a result of severe weather," the utility said.