CL&P says (mostly) no to tree-trimming halt

Connecticut Light and Power will not be curtailing most of its more radical tree trimming temporarily as requested earlier this week by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

PURA had requested CL&P and United Illuminating suspend their programs known as enhanced tree trimming and enhanced tree removal while it reconsiders tree-trimming policies for both companies.

Despite an initial statement from CL&P that said it “will of course comply with their request to voluntarily curtail our enhanced tree trimming program,” the company sent a letter to PURA Thursday asking to continue with any enhanced trimming that has already been agreed to.

The letter stated that there are 65 local tree crews including 170 employees working on the program. “If all ETT work is suspended or if the suspension continues indefinitely, there is a risk that tree trimming contractors will shift resources out of state, adversely impacting the Company’s ability to respond to a major weather event,” the letter said. “Additionally, suspending all such work until a final decision is rendered will have significant cost and schedule impacts on the ETT program.”

Late Friday PURA agreed to CL&P’s request.

The ETT programs began after the major storms in 2011 and 2012 resulted in massive prolonged power outages, many of them due to falling trees. There has been widespread public complaint that UI’s tree trimming plan in particular will go overboard.

UI had asked for further clarification from PURA, but the company’s response has not been released. PURA’s decision on the plan will not come until the end of the month at the earliest.