Electric utilities hunt 'hazard trees'


In an effort to reduce power outages, state regulators announced Wednesday a pilot program to take care of hazardous trees on private and public property.

Typically, the state's utilities are able to cut down or trim trees that pose a problem to electric wires in their right-of-way. But what about risky, unhealthy trees, which could strike an electric line, that are on public and private property, places where the companies can't just act on their own?

As part of the pilot program announced by the state Board of Public Utilities, Jersey Central Power & Light and Public Service Electric and Gas Co., and seven towns – East Windsor, Blairstown, Millstone, Freehold, Little Ferry, North Haledon and Garwood – each have identified between 10 and 20 "hazard trees."

After superstorm sandy, the state has worked to rebuild and strengthen utility infrastructure, the BPU said.

"By working in unison with the New Jersey League of Municipalities, PSE&G, JCP&L and seven volunteer towns, we are developing a plan to prevent one of the major causes of power outages, fallen trees and limbs that are not covered under the traditional vegetation management programs," said BPU President Richard S. Mroz in a statement.

The pilot program runs through May 2015.

 

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