Did CL&P fail us?

We live plugged in, and for many of us in New England we have been painfully aware of just how much we depend on power. The number of those without power drops daily, but not fast enough for those who are still without.

Watching the news since the storm, the tone shifts from one of commenting on the sheer volume of those without power to questioning CL&P about their effectiveness. I cannot blame the public for their frustration. I was lucky as I had a place to go, many others either did not, or could not leave. Thankfully the days brought us warmer temperatures, but the nights were cold. We are not prepared to live without power, certainly it stressed people out.

The talk of more aggressive tree trimming is all over the news too. More aggressive tree trimming will translate to a higher electric bill. I am no dummy. Connecticut is one of the most forested states by the way, according to State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

“Even though Connecticut is one of the nation’s most densely populated states, it is also one of the most heavily forested – nearly 60% of our landbase is in forest.  Of that 1.8 million forested acres, a full 95% is owned by private forest landowners – individuals, families, land trusts, municipalities and industries.” (from the State of CT DEP website)

(map of New Milford, look at all those TREES!)

As I drive around it is obvious that even those who do not own a forest or a large tract of land have trees planted too close to the power lines. Either put there on purpose by the home owner or Mother Nature, or by Nutsy the Squirrel, these trees are clearly on private property. If Connecticut Light & Power is solely responsible for the tree trimming of these privately owned trees, the consumer pays the price for the trimming at the end of the day with higher utility rates. There is no way around that. And we do complain about the high cost of electricity!

Some will say that if we bury the power lines it will fix everything. It may solve the problem of trees falling on power lines, but at the end of the day, it will still cost the consumer to do so. I would love to see power lines buried, for purely aesthetic reasons, they often get in the way of my photography!

There is no easy solution. I do not know if CL&P was at fault for taking too long to restore power. The numbers were mind numbing of just how many people were without power, I couldn’t imagine how they would get it done quickly. Especially as I drove around and saw entire trees down that took down lines, limbs entangled in the lines, etc. The one theme that resonated in my head over and over again as I witnessed the damage was one of more responsible tree maintenance by the homeowner and municipalities.

This is certainly a topic we will wrestle with for the foreseeable future. Looking for someone to blame will not solve the problem, coming together with the power company and working towards a more responsible tree maintenance and planting program will go a long way to solving this very complex issue that our love of trees has caused us. As I watch the news, Governor Malloy and CT Attorney General Jepsen are poised for attack against Connecticut Light & Power. I am not happy about this, spend the resources to solve the problem, which is a very complex one indeed. I think there is enough blame to go around. But the cost…. well… we know that it will cost the consumer at the end of the day. I can say one thing for sure, it wasn’t MY tree that fell on that power line!

And who is the most important person in CT right now?

THE TREE WARDEN!


I can say one thing for sure, it wasn’t MY tree that fell on a power line!

Orignially posted at “Who is the most important (wo)man in the state of CT right now?”

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