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Distribution System Vegetation Management

Vegetation management along the power lines you see near roads and highways

Whether you live in the country or along a shady street, trees are one of the best features about living in New England. Trees are an important part of our community – helping to beautify the neighborhoods we call home.

However, trees are also the leading cause of power outages in New England—especially during stormy weather. Every year, tree limbs and branches come in contact with the thousands of miles of electric power lines Eversource maintains—causing outages, damaging equipment and creating potential public safety hazards.

Why We Maintain Vegetation

Our vegetation management program is a thoughtful plan that balances the needs of reliable service to our customers and the natural beauty of our New England communities.

The program is run by arborists and other professionals with vast experience in arboriculture. Qualified line clearance contractors are also employed by Eversource, some companies with decades of experience in New England.

We continuously monitor power lines and equipment and periodically trim around the lines providing electric service to your neighborhood.

How Often We Maintain Vegetation

We schedule vegetation management along our electric distribution system in 4 to 5 year cycles, with occasional mid-cycle trimming for locations that cannot wait until the normal cycle.

We also track performance of different parts of our system, making note of and prioritizing tree trimming and removal in areas that routinely experience outages due to trees.

When crews perform tree trimming around power lines, clearance is determined based on common growth rates of the trees of New England. Our practices meet the standards of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who oversees and performs Eversource's tree work?

Our arborists oversee professionally-qualified tree trimming crews who are contracted to perform regular vegetation management projects. When severe weather triggers widespread outages due to limbs on wires and downed trees, we call on more contractors to assist in clearing debris so power can be restored as quickly as possible.

How do you determine how much needs to be cut?

Our minimum trimming specifications for regularly scheduled vegetation management are 10 feet to the side, 10 feet below and 15 feet above the wires. It may be more on critical infrastructure or main lines that serve many customers. We will only trim or remove those branches and trees, including hazard trees, that threaten to interfere with power lines and equipment, and that could cause power outages or risks to public safety.

What's the difference between tree clearance requirements for roadside power lines and transmission rights of way?

Roadside power lines are known as distribution lines. These lines operate at a lower voltage than transmission lines and do not require as extensive clearances. We may obtain greater clearances on backbone distribution lines coming out of the substations or feeding critical infrastructures, like hospitals.

Transmission rights of way contain high-voltage lines that deliver energy from generation plants to substations. The higher voltage and critical importance of their reliability require greater clearances from vegetation – up to 100 feet from the wires on the structures located within a right of way. This is because an outage to a transmission line could cause thousands of our customers to lose power.

What is considered to be a "hazard tree?"

We selectively remove hazard trees that are identified as dead, in poor health or that have structural defects and the potential to fall on power lines and equipment. We also prioritize tree removals that could impact the greatest number of customers and critical infrastructure, like fire stations and hospitals.

How do drought conditions affect trees?

Prolonged drought conditions can significantly weaken trees and branches, especially those that are decaying or diseased. You can help prevent a possible outage near you by taking the time to look for drought-stressed trees on your property, and then contacting a certified tree professional.

What happens to the wood that is cut after trees are trimmed?

Our tree contractors will remove wood and branches that result from scheduled tree trimming along our power lines. However, at your request, you may keep the wood resulting from any trimming that takes place on or near your property. To request to keep the wood, give us a call. In Connecticut: 800-286-2000; in Eastern Massachusetts: 800-592-2000; in Western Massachusetts: 877-659-6326; in New Hampshire: 800-662-7764.

What types of trees or shrubs should I plant to ensure they won't interfere with power lines?

There are many great choices for planting the right tree in the right place. For more information, visit the Plan Before You Plant page on our website.

Will I be notified ahead of time if you are going to be performing tree work on my property?

Yes. Eversource tree contractors will notify you in advance by mail and/or a door hanger, providing an estimated date for the work and contact information if you have further questions.

Transmission System Vegetation Management

The transmission system includes the structures and power lines within our right of way corridors that carry high-voltage electricity from power generation sources and substations.

How we maintain the transmission system