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NB Power invests extra $5.1M in tree trimming in 2014/2015 to improve reliability, deal with Arthur impacts

2014-12-05


Fredericton, N.B. – NB Power is spending an additional $5.1 million this year to bolster grid reliability by cutting and trimming thousands of trees weakened by last summer's Post-tropical Storm Arthur. This extra investment brings the utility's 2014/2015 tree trimming expenditure to $12.1 million.

"Our customers are experiencing outages related to trees damaged by the high winds and heavy rains brought by Arthur in July," said Gaëtan Thomas, President and CEO of NB Power. "Our customers are frustrated by these outages and we are too. We been working hard on the ground for the last few months to accelerate our regular programming and to deal with these tens of thousands of storm-weakened trees and we are extending our vegetation management program through the winter to make sure our system and our customers can be protected, as much as possible, from tree-related outages."

The $12.1 million in spending includes an updated forecast of $8 million in program spending plus a one-time cost of $4.1 million on tree trimming contractors related to Arthur.

"Our infrastructure is built and maintained to rigorous standards and is among the strongest in North America. The best way for NB Power to take care of its customers this winter is to continue to increase our investments in tree trimming," said Thomas. "We're building more capacity into our vegetation management program through the use of remote-sensing laser technology (LiDAR) and GIS mapping allowing us we can make the most of our investment by focusing on areas with high likelihood of tree contacts. We know that trees and branches on lines are the biggest cause of outages during extreme weather and we are doing everything possible to prevent those contacts from happening."

While normally a seasonal program that runs during the late spring, summer and fall months, this year tree contractors will work through the winter months.

Revised numbers for tree trimming spending in 2013-14 are now also available. Last year, NB Power spent $2.5 million on tree trimming contractors in the days following the December ice storms in addition to $6.1 million for preventative maintenance, bringing the total spending to $8.6 million.

The table below details actual spending on tree trimming programs for NB Power's street-level infrastructure, which includes poles and lines serving homes and businesses (distribution) since 2005.

This does not include investments in vegetation management for the higher voltage transmission lines or capital spending on clearing for new line construction.

 

Distribution Tree Trimming Spending

Fiscal Year
(April 1 – March 31)

Actual Expenditures

2005-2006

$3.2M

2006-2007

$3.6M

2007-2008

$3.6M

2008-2009

$3.6M

2009-2010

$4.7M

2010-2011

$4.3M*

2011-2012

$4.8M

2012-2013

$5.9M

2013-2014

$6.1M + $2.5 (storm restoration) = $8.6 M

2014-2015

$8 + $4.1 (storm restoration) = $12.1 M

 

Budget

2015-2016

$7.9M

 

* 2010-2011 – Storm days delayed the vegetation management program resulting in a $300k underspend of budget.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Nobes, Communications, NB Power, 506-458-4838.