LEWISBORO, N.Y. – New York State Electric & Gas plans to begin trimming trees in North Salem, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge this spring as part of its ongoing maintenance program.
The work will probably continue until September, NYSEG said.
Residents met with NYSEG at the Lewisboro Library last week to learn about the project. The issues covered at the Lewisboro public meeting apply to all three towns, said NYSEG’s Sam Miller.
“There are serious safety implications when vegetation is too close to a power line,” NYSEG’s Beth Rettig said at the meeting. “It’s a problem all over the country. Providing safe and reliable power is our primary goal and responsibility.
“We don’t touch other lines,” she said. “Cable and telephone companies have to maintain their own lines.”
Since 2010, the need for trimming has increased, Rettig said.
Lewisboro, Pound Ridge and North Salem are under NYSEG’s Brewster headquarters, which manages 91 power circuits and 1,600 miles of power lines.
For Lewisboro, NYSEG’s goal for this year is to address about 70 miles of line, Rettig said. By law, NYSEG maintains an easement of 10 feet surrounding every power pole. “Contrary to popular belief, we do like trees. We have arborists, so we know how each tree will react to pruning,” she added. “We don’t remove entire trees without the permission of the property owner.
“We try to redirect growth away from the line when we trim,” she said. “If you start early you can actually get the structure of the tree growing up and away.”
NYSEG has contracted Asplundh Tree Experts to do the work. Residences that fall within the maintenance area will receive postcards from NYSEG several weeks in advance of the work. Green warning cards will also be delivered to front doors.
Limbs up to 6 inches in diameter will be chipped and hauled away. Larger ones will be cut into manageable pieces and neatly piled on site.
“Why don’t you bury the lines underground?” one person asked at the meeting. Another said, “I notice that they put the lines underground when they build developments, so why can’t we?”
NYSEG’s Jim Salmon blamed the high cost.
“The first reason is the expense,” Salmon said. “Depending on the soil, it’s about 10 times more expensive. In addition, there are significant problems if you do have an outage. ConEd has more lines underground than we do, and they have more problems getting access when there’s an outage."
He cited a community in Oswego, for example, that wanted to pay for underground lines. "But in the end, they decided against it because when you dig, you disrupt the root systems of existing trees. And you often have to blast if there’s bedrock," he said.
“You’ll notice that new developments have no trees, so it’s not a problem -- yet,” Salmon said. “Around here, you’re blessed with double tree coverage, but it’s also the most difficult digging. This area is infamous for bedrock.
“We’ll do it,” Salmon said. “But everybody in the community has to agree on it.”
For further information about tree trimming, visit the NYSEG website . If you have any questions about your property, call NYSEG’s Sam Miller at 845-278-8120, Ext. 229.
Correction: In general, NYSEG maintains a 10 foot easement on either side of a power line. However, this distance may vary according to each individual property. Easements may be found on property deeds available at the county clerk's office.
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