Eversource protecting power lines by searching for trees damaged by drought

BERLIN--The state has been in a drought for some time, with very little rain over the last several months. And that drought has taken a toll on many things, from the water supply to vegetation.

One of the major impacts is on trees, which can fall over or have limbs break off, hitting power lines and causing outages.

"The effects of a drought on tree systems are cumulative, and the region has experienced drought conditions for two of the last three years," said Sean Redding, manager of vegetation management for Eversource in Connecticut. "This year is expected to be the warmest on record, and the high temperatures coupled with lack of rainfall are affecting the trees."

To prevent that from happening, Eversource has been traversing the state to find problem trees and trim or remove them so that they don't pose a hazard. But it's not easy.

"Workers have been trained to look for the general health of the tree and to be aware that the drought has exacerbated any issue the tree is already suffering from," Redding said. "It appears more trees are failing. We have seen incidents where trees or branches fell onto power lines when the weather was nice. That’s because the root systems that anchor the trees have been compromised by the extended drought."

Eversource is investing $68 million in the state to trim trees along 4,000 miles of power lines; as of the end of August, they've completed 2,300 miles. In all, Eversource manages 17,000 miles of power lines.