Council Hears Eversource Efforts to Clear Power Lines

Representatives of Eversource Energy appeared at Town Hall to answer questions concerning their energy projects in the town of Londonderry.

At the April 17 Town Council Meeting, two Eversource representatives, John Troiano and Anthony Johnson, appeared in front of the council in order to discuss their current and future projects for delivering power to the town.

They first mentioned their continuing efforts to keep transmission structures and their surrounding areas in good shape.  They seek to continue the evaluation of said structures, eventually replacing wooden structures with steel, as well as restoring areas disturbed by construction.

Next, they brought up vegetation maintenance, removing brush and pruning trees within the ROW (Right of Way, or strips of land that contain the transmission structures) in order to prevent trees from coming in contact with wires. Mr. Johnson mentioned that “our objective is to keep this up to speed”, concerning maintaining vegetation.

The highlight of the discussion, however, concerned Eversource’s TRRP (Transmission Right-of-Way Reliability Program) plan. In development since 2012, the TRRP wants to focus on removing tall-growing species’ of trees within 100 feet of the ROWs that may pose potential safety hazards to the structures and cause power outages.  It was noted that an average of 10 trees a year have fallen onto the wires, with 50 percent occurring because of white pine.

Ultimately, a major concern of both citizens and the council was the affect this would have on property owners. Johnson mentioned that Eversource was focusing on efforts to expand their easements, or control of land near the ROWs, noting that “our goal…[is] to grow our easement to our full width.” These easements would expand primarily around the ROW crossing through Route 93.

The wood removed from these areas could be retained by the property owners via request, wherein it is left along the edge of ROW.

Chairman Tom Dolan brought up his satisfaction with over the years and the results that they have produced.  But John Farrell, Vice-Chairman of the Council, was very vocal about his concern over the project, primarily over the number of citizens who have called and spoken to him over confusion with the TRRP.

He mentioned that the process came off as “awkward” to many people and said “I’m telling you what I’ve witnessed over the last four or five years,” noting property disputes as a long-standing issue over these matters.

The Eversource representatives were well aware of these concerns and brought up that they have been diligent in their efforts to communicate with property owners that have trees within the ROWs. On top of environmental surveys, Eversource would present surveys to these property owners concerning Eversource presence in the area, as well as various letters, normal and eventually certified with red lettering on the front, to catch their attention. They also utilize door hangers and emails.

Farrell did, however, show concern for whether or not people would consider any of this “junk mail” and simply toss it out. He also mentioned more ideas for catching the public’s eye on the topic, such as press releases, which the two representatives mentioned that they do not utilize.

Traiano noted that most property owners that they have come in contact with have been satisfied with the process and how they were communicated to, with only one small issue so far concerning an error in paperwork.

Eversource is currently in the process of outreaching to property owners and hopes to begin tree clearing sometime in May or June. The project is slated to continue through the fall.

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