Protecting Your Service
UI's Vegetation Program
UI's Vegetation Program is a new specification intended to reduce the amount of vegetation that threatens power lines during storms. Recent severe storms including Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in 2012 serve as reminders of the threat that trees can pose to the integrity of our electrical system, the reliability of your service and the safety of our customers and employees.
These storms left hundreds of thousands of customers without electrical service, in some cases for extended periods. The largest cause of these outages was damage from trees located close to power lines and other equipment.
Trees near power lines therefore are a key focus at The United Illuminating Company as we review the lessons learned from these storms and now implement measures to harden our systems to ensure they are safe, resilient and reliable in all weather.
Going forward, UI contractors will be visiting your neighborhood to survey and determine the tree work required to reduce the threat to reliable electric service and public safety. This will be a tree-by-tree evaluation based on a number of factors considered by the UI arborist, the tree warden and/or UI contractor work planners.
These contractors will contact property owners to provide information about the extent and type of the tree work required, if any, and the timing for the work to be completed. You may receive an in-person visit, or receive an information packet at your address. Please contact UI's contractor directly at the number provided in the information packet, if you have any questions.
This area survey process is part of a wider effort to reduce threats to our electrical system. UI has revised its vegetation management specifications to increase the distance between the vegetation and power lines.
The new specification calls for creating a "Utility Protection Zone" which extends horizontally 8 feet out from the outermost electric conductor or wire, from the ground to the sky. This will reduce vegetation that may come into contact with the electric infrastructure and cause outages during storms, as well as during fair weather.
Trees will also be designated for pruning or removal if they pose a threat to power lines, or risk falling into or encroaching on the Utility Protection Zone and causing damage to the electric system or outages due to their height and growth pattern.
Desirable low-height or ornamental trees that are already growing within the Utility Protection Zone, or that do not pose a risk, will not be removed.
UI promotes a managed roadside forest that beautifies streets, neighborhoods and communities, but also enhances the benefits of reliable electric service and public safety.
UI is committed to working in partnership with property owners to ensure they can help their neighbors and community, and understand their rights under the law.
Privately owned trees will not be trimmed or removed without the owner's consent, except when they are in direct contact with our energized conductors and present an imminent danger.
For trees in public areas or in the public right-of-way, Section 60 of Public Act 13-298 (An Act Concerning Implementation of Connecticut's Comprehensive Energy Strategy and Various Revisions to the Energy Statutes) requires that utilities provide notice to all property owners abutting the public right-of-way 15 days prior to the start of any vegetation management that is to occur within the newly defined Utility Protection Zone, with the exception of trees that pose an imminent threat. Abutting property owners who object to the proposed tree work must send their objection in writing to the utility and town tree warden or state DOT within 10 days of receiving the notice. The tree warden or state DOT must make a decision within 15 days that may be appealed to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) by the property owner or utility. The complete objection and appeal process can be found on the State of Connecticut website.
Click here to view a list of FAQs regarding UI's Vegetation Program
If you still have questions regarding the program after reviewing the information available on the site, please click here to send a specific question to the program manager. In the subject line, please use Vegetation Management or Tree Trimming.
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