Eversource has now brought its radical tree cutting mindset to Easthampton. Their approach presses for the removal of healthy public shade trees both within the public way, as well as 15 feet beyond road’s edge. Tree selection seems to be geared for more mature trees, which have not previously been offenders or contributed to loss of electric service reliability. In coming to Easthampton, they have found a very supportive tree warden who doesn’t press them to justify removal requests. There is a reason for this, and it has to do with Eversource’s deep pockets to do other work for the city (Quid Pro Quo = something for something). The tradeoff has resulted in no public shade hearings, which is required by Massachusetts Shade Tree Law (MGL 87). Circumventing the law is unlawful, unless a tree is determined to be a hazard (dead, dying or structurally weak). Eversource has used the term “Risk tree” frivolously to justify any tree they don’t like. The acting tree warden seems to be indifferent to Eversource’s tree cutting demands … why?

A pole upgrade on Loudville Road has resulted in Eversource installing new poles slightly higher, but in place. The new installation will replace existing cross arm construction with Hendrix wire (tree wire) in Spacer cable configuration. The new wiring scheme replaces cross arm construction made up of three bare primary wires, which is highly susceptible to service reliability. The upgraded circuit represents the extreme easterly terminus of a circuit that originates from a substation in Blandford.

The new installation now in place, is energized. Hendrix wire is a heavily insulated conductor and is utilized where political and public support for complete tree removal will not be supported. Spacer cable (Hendrix wire) is very compatible with close tree contact and is almost maintenance free. Despite that feature, Eversource’s vegetation management staff has successfully pressed for removal of 10 public shade trees, which resulted in a public shade tree hearing, and the city’s mayor giving final approval to cut all 10 trees requested within the project area.

The removal of these trees will be done within the next week or two, when Eversource’s line construction contractor has completed all final connections and equipment transfers.

What is really troubling is that the majority of these trees were not needed in order to achieve superior service reliability. There seems to be a real disconnect between Eversource’s engineering and vegetation management staff.

Norman M. Taft


Letters to the Editor
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