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Connecticut backs $300 million utility storm plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut regulators on Wednesday approved a $300 million plan by the state's biggest utility to strengthen its electrical system to help avoid extended storm-related power outages.

The five-year "System Resiliency Plan" proposed by Connecticut Light & Power focuses on three initiatives: tree trimming, use of coated thicker-gauge wire, and strengthening utility poles, cross-arms and other equipment.

Bill Quinlan, a senior vice president at the subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, said the work will improve the system's day-to-day reliability and make it less vulnerable to outages in extreme weather.

More than half of the $300 million will be used for trimming trees, which are the cause of most outages with falling branches pulling down wires and poles.

Beginning next year, CL&P will install thicker wire that has a protective coating, known as "tree wire," that can better withstand damage from falling branches or trees. The work also will involve replacing and refurbishing utility poles and cross-arms to tolerate storm damage and reduce power outages.

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