Letter: CL&P touts upgrades in town
Published 3:30 pm, Friday, January 16, 2015
Connecticut Light & Power's 1.2 million customers depend on reliable electric service, which is why the company is investing heavily in stronger electrical equipment and trimming potentially troublesome trees and branches. It's a strategy that is paying off for customers. In 2013, the company experienced its best reliability in over a decade, with notably fewer and shorter power outages.
During the past several years, severe storms have wreaked havoc on the state and our system. The continued unpredictable weather patterns suggest that dealing with large and multifaceted storms may become a more frequent phenomenon, and CL&P is committed to being ready for whatever Mother Nature brings to Connecticut.
That's why the company is spending $300 million statewide over five years to install stronger wires, poles and other critical components, as well as using state-of-the-art communication technology. The company is also working with University of Connecticut scientists on issues such as vegetation management and public education,to ensure a more resilient electric system for all CL&P customers. All of these facets will work together to help mitigate storms' impact on the electric system and increase reliability.
The company continues upgrading the electric system in various towns around the state, including Westport, where over $1.2 million was invested in 2014. Thicker wire, stronger poles and cross-arms, and targeted tree trimming have greatly benefitted 1,000 customers in Westport and nearby Weston. Nearly 50 taller, stronger poles were installed, along with weather resilient composite cross-arms and lightning arrestors. This work has been done on several roads north of the Merritt Parkway in the Coleytown area, including Coleytown Road, Weston Road and Ford Road, which are heavily lined with trees that have caused power outages in the past. Thanks to these recent improvements, Westport now experiences fewer power outages than in years past.
The large storms of recent years have helped many residents understand the importance of tree trimming and tree removal near power lines. Therefore, CL&P has taken a comprehensive approach to vegetation management in cooperation with the state Department of Transportation and municipalities around the state. With homeowners' approval, tree-trimming is performed where vegetation has threatened or could threaten the electric system. These resiliency efforts are critical given that trees are the No. 1 cause of power outages and are responsible for 90 percent of outages during storms. Since 2013, the company estimates that this comprehensive approach has resulted in a 58-percent reduction in tree-related outages across the state.
The vegetation work now underway statewide includes 1,000 circuit miles a year and an average of eight trees removed per mile. In 2014, the company has invested significantly in vegetation management and tree trimming took place along nearly 55 miles of roadway at several different locations in Westport.
All of these improvements couldn't be accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our crews. Their commitment, coupled with the company's primary goal to keep the electric system in optimal shape, is our unified pledge to provide our customers with the reliable service they expect and deserve.
Bill Herdegen, president
Connecticut Light & Power