When a Northeast U.S. utility was met with pushback during a capital improvement project, Davey Resource Group, Inc. was called in to find a compromise.
When a utility in the Northeastern part of the United States wanted to reduce outages for their customers, they began a capital improvement project to install new poles and lines. Areas where equipment was being installed were assessed, vegetation clearing work was planned and performed, and quality assurance needed to be conducted on the work.
Homeowners in the service area and a local conservation trust pushed back on recommended tree removals. Anti-removal signs were placed throughout the township and residents built a website petitioning the utility to stop the work.
To alleviate the pressure put on by residents, the utility called Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) for a second opinion. DRG planned work and conducted quality assessments once the project was complete.
DRG brought 7 crew members to conduct a second assessment of the project and help the utility communicate with township residents. With the second assessment, DRG reduced the number of tree removals necessary for the project to be a success. The crew also found a number of ash trees infested with emerald ash borer (EAB) during the assessment.
The crew members explained to individual homeowners details of the project, including the height of the new poles, where the new lines would be placed, and why removing some trees—such as the EAB-infested ones—would be beneficial for the health of other trees and the safe distribution of electricity.
DRG also found a way to avoid removing a number of historical trees through their assessment.
DRG’s second assessment received the approval of township residents and allowed the utility and competitor to continue the project with a new plan. The utility was impressed with DRG crews’ ability to resolve homeowner issues and find a middle ground to get the project completed.
The project is ongoing, and DRG plans to return to the area and conduct quality assurance of the project site once it’s complete.