ESSEX — Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, was notified by Eversource, formerly CL&P, that additional tree trimming in the local community would begin this spring. Residents will see bucket trucks and chippers from Asplundh and Lucas Tree throughout Essex. These contractors are obliged by the new PURA(Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) laws to go from door to door to notify abutting owners and ask if the owner agrees with the trimming.
Pampel wants residents to know that, according to these new laws, they have the right to challenge the tree companies about the trimming. Those wishing to challenge the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person.
The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work.
Eversource informs residents that year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”. By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines. Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently. Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.
There are several clearance specifications outlined in the literature provided to you by the permissions contact. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the permission slip with you.
The trees at risk are:
- Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
- Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
- Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly. If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
- Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning. This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”
Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.
Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth. As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”
According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a) certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used. Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.
Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work. Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.
In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work. They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming. It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners. You may also call Eversource Customer Care Center at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617. You can email Eversource directly at treeCT@eversource.com.
For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:
- If you live on a town road, please contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
- If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131
Not granting permission:
- If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
- Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
- Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.
According to Eversource, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.
Augie Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work. Contact him at 860-767-0766