We have seen a marked increase in weather-based storm events that adversely impact the ability of utilities to deliver power to their customers. This increase has been so dramatic over the past decade that many utility executives and regulatory bodies now no longer treat storms as isolated events but as business as usual or, more accurately, as “the new normal.” And this new normal requires a heightened level of investment.
Consider that Public Service Electric and Gas Co. recently reached a US$1.22 billion settlement in its Energy Strong proposal to proactively protect and strengthen its electric and gas systems against severe weather conditions. The stipulation, signed by the staff of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, is now being reviewed by the other parties and participants in the case and will be submitted to the New Jersey BPU for review and approval. This is happening all across the country.
Of course, we know that in many utility service areas, the majority of damage to overhead lines is a result of falling trees, limbs and contact from line sway taking out these power lines during storms. And we know one of the best ways to harden a circuit is to reduce the threat of those falling trees and limbs.
Continue reading for more on strategies to protect distribution systems with integrated vegetation management.
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