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Eversource Trimming Trees Along 52 Miles of Roadway in Canton

March 29, 2016 Business, Classified, Environment No Comments
Students at Stepping Stones try and save some trees that were being cut along Route 44. Submitted Photo

Students at Stepping Stones try and save some trees that were being cut along Route 44.
Submitted Photo

By John Fitts 

CANTON — Crews working for Eversource, which transmits and delivers electricity to 149 cities and towns, are in the process of trimming trees along 52 miles of roadway in Canton.

It is part of a larger initiative that involves trimming along 4,000 miles of roadway in 132 communities – at a cost of $68 million – in 2016.

Through regular pruning, the company said it has reduced tree-caused outages 40 percent since 2011, according to a recent release.

“This work is crucial to protect our electric system, reducing the number and severity of power outages,” said company spokesman Mitch Gross. “We’re working hard to strike that right balance between aesthetics and reliable electric service.”

The trimming, which sometimes involves removal, sometimes generates the public’s attention. After the October 2011 snowstorm, many accused the company of not doing enough to clear its power lines. Since then, some say crews go too far.

At Stepping Stones Educational Center on Route 44 in Canton, young students recently participated in what was perhaps their first protest, waiving signs and saying, “Save Our Trees, Please.”

A crew trims and cuts further down along Route 44 in Canton. Submitted Photo

A crew trims and cuts further down along Route 44 in Canton.
Submitted Photo

“It’s heartbreaking to hear the children talk of all the animals that will be displaced because they continue to cut tress down each spring since that October storm a few years back,” said director LaNelle Stanhope. “One of the boys looked at me after our protest with tears in his eyes and said ‘Mrs. Stanhope they aren’t listening.’ What am I to say to that?”

Gross said crews did cut pear trees along a stretch of Route 44 between East Hill and Dyer.

“Pear trees that are not regularly trimmed can grow to heights of 40 feet and that is what happened here – the trees were growing into the lines, putting the electric system at risk,” Gross said.

Stanhope feels the company should work on installing underground utilities.

Eversource has had numerous conversations about the idea but that it has its own challenges, such as heat building, flood damage, high cost and time to service in the event of a problem, according to Gross. The high cost deters most people but the option is much more plausible during new construction, he said.

The company does get permission from property owners, Gross said. In 2015, it sought consent from 71,519 property owners around state, 1,046 which said no, according to Gross.

It’s all about that balance, according to Gross and the company’s general policy and link to planting near power lines can be found here.

“Trees are what makes this state so beautiful, but at the same time they can have a devastating effect on the electric system,” Gross said.

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