Tree trimming program seeks to protect power lines

12 05 tree to be trimmed

A tree is marked with a white ribbon on Old North Main Street, indicating it is slated for removal in order to protect power lines. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)


LACONIA — Eversource will trim back and cut down trees, including dozens along Old North Main Street, in an effort to protect power lines from falling timber.

Kaitlyn Woods, a spokeswoman for the utility, said Monday the chainsaw work will be done under a program focusing on trees within eight feet of lines distributing power from substations. In some cases, the trees may not be in good health.

Trees that will be removed are marked with ribbons.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses statewide, including many in Laconia and Gilford, lost power in late October after heavy rains and high winds.

“The No. 1 cause of outages are trees and branches falling onto lines,” Woods said.

She said that before a tree is trimmed, the utility asks permission from the landowner.

City Manager Scott Myers said in an email that city officials asked the utility about the program after a resident questioned whether the trimming was going too far and changing neighborhood character. He said the city was assured the utility is working appropriately with landowners, seeking permission, as is legally required.

Myers said this trimming is also happening where he lives, on Holman Street.

“I know I was contacted by Eversource about removing a large tree in my front yard,” he said. “I told them 'No.'

“They asked about taking some limbs off and again I said, 'No,' as they had trimmed two years ago with my permission and I didn’t want to lose any more of the shape of the tree. That was the last I heard from Eversource and they are not touching my tree.”

He said some property owners may welcome the opportunity to have trees thinned out on their property at the expense of the utility.

“Maybe they are nuisance trees or maybe they want to let a little more sunlight onto their property,” he said. “It is an inviting option to have trees you don’t want taken down at another’s expense.”

The utility sent a letter to the city saying Laconia has been selected for an “enhanced tree trimming program.”

“ETT is a reliability-based tree trimming and removal program focusing on protecting the main power source (or “backbone”) of each of our electric circuits in New Hampshire,” the letter stated. “The leading causes of power outages in New Hampshire are tree related and this enhanced clearance zone around our electrical facilities helps our system to better withstand large storm events and reduce the possibility of tree-related outages.”

It said this enhanced trimming would be done on:

  • Van Buren Road
  • Park Street
  • N Main Street
  • Parade Road
  • Elm Street
  • North Street
  • Jefferson Street
  • School Street
  • Fairmont Street
  • Lexington Drive
  • Holman Street
  • Blueberry Lane
  • Shore Street
  • Pleasant Street
  • Clairemont Street