Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management - according to the PSC

This web page provides an overview of PSC vegetative management policy, including links to a selection of transmission line utilities' online vegetative management policies (typically simplistic overviews), as well as a "FAQ" section covering various questions and issues.

Upon reflecting further on the comments made by the PSC representatives at last Saturday's Greenburgh Town meeting, I have reached the conclusion that their explanations / analysis / justification for current "clear cut" vegetative management policy rests solely on cost avoidance by the local utility. It's less expensive to clear cut everything in the ROW so that repeat visits will not be required as frequently (avoiding the 3 year cycle of costs).

But this analysis is overly simplistic in that it weights only the costs to Con Ed (or other utility) rather than factoring in the entire economic cost which ultimately results - inclusive of local municipalities and property owners. When costs relating to stormwater damage and mitigation, noise & pollution mitigation, habitat loss, property value loss and so forth are factored in, then the clear cut scenario is revealed to be the MOST COSTLY approach of all.

It is time for the PSC to base it's public guidelines and recommendations on what benefits the common public good, not on what provides the least budget impact for utilities and their corporate partners.


Anonymous said...

You are absolutley correct. There are high costs to the property owners and muncipalities that the PSC is ignoring. The clear cut scenario is definitley the most expensive approach. The PSC has shifted the burden of cost from the utility to the property owners and municipalites. The main question remains how fast our elected officals will act to obtain stop work orders for Con Edison and investigate the situation.

Anonymous said...

Mark, the management cycle on Aqueduct ROW is shorter than other ROWs: "1 to 2 years" according to Con Ed's Vegetation Management Plan instead of three years.

The VMP also explicitly states that "maximizing cycle length" will "minimize increases in annual cost per acre".

Follow the money!

Anonymous said...

It is an absolutely correct observation, right to the root of the matter.