UNDERGROUNDING OF WIRES
--A LONG TERM SOLUTION
Undergrounding of electric and communication distribution wires is a long term solution that would achieve greater electric grid reliability and resilience, at the same time preserving the numerous benefits of existing large trees within public rights-of-way and allowing for the planting of similar large trees where none exist or where a tree has become hazardous or diseased and must be removed. Such preservation and planting of large trees is important to reducing carbon emissions for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation and resilience to cope with the effects of climate change. Earlier studies of the costs and benefits of undergrounding of electric distribution wires have not focused on climate change, nor have they addressed all of the benefits from and costs avoided by undergrounding of wires. In recent years, utilities in other states have begun to do strategic undergrounding and are pleased with the increase in resilience and reliability and the lower operating and management costs. GCNH favors statewide strategic planning for and implementation of undergrounding of overhead electric and communication wires.*
Bookmark this page to check for updates regarding this issue. Latest update: June 5, 2022
OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON PURA STRAW PROPOSAL REGARDING EDC RELIABILITY AND RESILIENCE
Current GCNH Efforts to Support Undergrounding
Comments on straw proposal, submitted to PURA Docket No. 17-12-03RE08 on June 5, 2022, in response to request for comments from PURA.
Correspondence submitted to PURA Docket No. 2021-05-15 on March 25, 2022, suggesting a metric to measure the resilience of the electric distribution system (its ability to withstand and recover from high impact events such as tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes), and its relationship to undergrounding. Current industry metrics focus on day to day reliability in normal weather, and exclude major weather events.
Correspondence submitted to PURA Docket No. 17-12-03RE08 on April 18, 2022, making comments pertaining to the presentations made by the electric distribution systems companies at the March 28/29, 2022 Technical Meetings.
Correspondence submitted to PURA Docket No. 17-12-08 on March 3, 2022, commenting on responses by Participants to PURA to questions regarding their reliability and resiliency planning. A copy was also submitted to DEEP on March 3 for consideration in preparing its 2022 Comprehensive Energy Strategy. NOTE: A correction in the correspondence was communicated to PURA and DEEP, and has been made in the document on the website.
See January 26, 2022 GCNH letter to Governor Lamont with copies to DEEP, the General Assembly Energy & Technology and Environment Committees and PURA, attaching GCNH Memorandum in Support of a Statewide Strategy for Undergrounding of Electric and Communication Wires and Cables, entered in PURA for Docket No. 17-12-03RE08, PURA's investigation focused on electric distribution companies' planning for distribution resilience and reliability, their standards and programs.
Opportunities for the Public to Support Undergrounding
Written comments in support of an undergrounding strategy may be filed in PURA's Docket No. 17-12-03RE08 on distribution resilience and reliability. Comments should be sent by email to PURA.ExecutiveSecretary@ct.gov and should reference Docket No. 17-12-03RE08 in the Subject Line.
*For information about the current electric distribution company infrastructure and to consider undergrounding in the context of other infrastructure options for reliability and resilience, see "Options Beyond Vegetation Management for Electric Distribution Reliability and Resiliency to Reduce the Frequency and Duration of Power Outages" (published July, 2021). It does not address financing or analyze costs and benefits.