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The Invasion of the Orange Trucks

Posted on
April 4, 2023
First Selectman's Office
Eversource is about to launch its Scheduled Tree Maintenance campaign. Every five years, the company trims and removes trees that impinge upon the power lines. The purpose is to make the grid more resilient to wind and other weather conditions. The campaign will take around 6 months and will cover all of the town's roads except for Pudding Hill Road, the eastern end of Rt. 14, and the northern end of Ziegler Rd, which were trimmed two years ago.

The work will be carried out by Asplundh. Their employees will be canvassing the town in the next days to determine what needs to be done and to create a plan for doing it. As part of this effort, they will contact homeowners whose houses abut the town right of way where trees that will be worked on are located. They will come to your door to do this and ask you to sign off on the project they propose. If you are not home, they will leave a hang tag asking you to communicate with them.

It is important to understand that almost all the trees they will slate for removal or trimming belong to the town, not the homeowner. The request for consent is mostly a courtesy that Eversource extends. If you refuse consent, then the question will be taken up by Eversource's arborist. If he or she cannot work out an agreement, then the question goes to the Tree Warden for the town, unless the tree is on a state highway, in which case it goes to CT DOT. The final decision is made by whichever of those applies.

A note about that: I am the Tree Warden. I really like trees, especially when they arch over the road and make things beautiful. My sympathies are with the trees and with the people who live near them. But I am also aware that we are subject to frequent power outages, mostly caused by trees or limbs falling on the lines. Between the gypsy moths and the emerald ash borers and the damage from climate change and the rise of invasive species like bittersweet, our trees are not so healthy, and thus the power grid is not so resilient. I know that many of us have generators, but even so it can be a hardship to be without power, and not everyone can afford a generator. So if any of these matters comes to me, I will try really hard to weigh the good of the community against our common love of trees, and come up with a good solution.

But I am hopeful this will not be necessary. I have met the Asplundh and Eversource employees in charge of this operation, and they are reasonable people. In the last campaign, they wanted to remove a large oak at the bottom of my driveway. I objected and we worked out a compromise whereby they only trimmed  it. And I wasn't the First Selectman (or Tree Warden) then. So I know they will do their best to accommodate your concerns. In dealing with them, please bear in mind that you are making decisions for your neighbors as well as yourself.

As soon as I have them, I will post the map of the areas Eversource will work in (which is most of the town) and  a brochure explaining the criteria for deciding what to trim or remove. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Email is best. firstselectman@scotlandct.org