Utility Vegetation Management Plans
(Pruning and Removal of Trees and Shrubs)
To see the possible impact of utility pruning and removal in your neighborhood or community, look up at the top-most wires and measure out horizontally 8 feet from both sides. This is the Utility Protection Zone ("UPZ") in which utility pruning and removal of trees and shrubs will take place. Aggressive pruning to fixed clearance lines from wires and especially use of Enhanced Tree Trimming ("ETT"), which calls for removal within the UPZ of all tall or tall-growing trees or parts of trees from ground to sky, whether hazardous or non-hazardous, could negatively impact your property, neighborhood and community due to the loss of the aesthetic, environmental, health and economic benefits that such trees provide. As noted below, tree wardens, the DOT and property owners can prevent unnecessary removals and unnecessary or improper pruning. See Diagrams of ETT and Routine Line Maintenance.
View UI's presentation of its plans, including answers to questions by residents and public officials in Fairfield at Fairfield UI Meeting, May 27, 2014, Fair TV.
Possible Consequences of Enhanced Tree Trimming ("ETT")
The photos on the left illustrate what would happen to Edwards Street in New Haven if United Illuminating is allowed to utilize strict ETT standards for line clearing (as illustrated at bottom without the 3 foot high stumps that could remain), as its original vegetation management plan proposes.
Routine Line Maintenance Based on Fixed Distances from Wires
The illustration at left shows pruning done by Connecticut Light & Power according to fixed line clearance standards.
Click Photos for additional illustrations of ETT and Maintenance pruning by CL&P.
Protecting Against Unnecessary
Utility Removal or Pruning
State statutes give tree wardens and DOT the power to refuse permits for pruning and removal that is not necessary for utility reliability and for pruning that doesn't protect the health and structural integrity of a tree. If a tree warden or DOT does issue a permit, abutting property owners must receive notice from a utility prior to any cutting and have an opportunity to object or request a modification to the plans. If the issues are not resolved at the local level, optional mediation and appeal to PURA are provided.
The PURA's Final Decision in its Tree Trimming Docket mandates that the utilities' vegetation management plans be changed to provide flexibility in vegetation management and consideration of the differences among urban, rural and suburban areas in determining what is necessary to ensure utility reliability. The utilities were ordered to submit amendments to their vegetation management plans by June 11, 2014. PURA did not rule on whether the amendments complied, but has opened two new dockets on the utilities' 2015 vegetation management plans. See Recent Information, Notices and News. Unfortunately, the above outcomes are likely to occur in the absence of denial of a tree warden permit or successful objection or request for modification by a property owner.