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.