Eversource: Latest arcing incident to spark more tree trimming in Darien

Photo of Brian Gioiele
After hearing the sound of electrical arcing toward the end of Wednesday's meeting on Little Brook Road, Eversource personnel take a closer look along the power lines running between the dead-end street and the Metro North rail line.

After hearing the sound of electrical arcing toward the end of Wednesday's meeting on Little Brook Road, Eversource personnel take a closer look along the power lines running between the dead-end street and the Metro North rail line.

Jarret Liotta / Hearst Connecticut Media

DARIEN — More tree trimming can be expected along Little Brook Road as soon as this week, after arcing — the crackling sound of electricity running over a tree — occurred as Eversource officials met with neighbors and city officials Wednesday morning.

Eversource officials met with neighbors and First Selectman Jayme Stevenson to reassure all that trimming and pruning done last week was an emergency measure necessary to protect the electrical lines.

During the meeting, only moments after one neighbor mentioned that arcing can be heard often, that distinct crackling sound was heard.

Eversource personnel immediately left to check the area, with company representative Frank Poirot saying the arcing was found in a different area than the previous week, on land closer to the Metro-North railroad.

“A dire situation is emerging here,” Poirot said. “You can’t ignore it when it is happening right in front of you. This raises it to a whole new level.”

Poirot said crews, along with arborists, will examine the area and determine how many trees are impacting the lines and need to be trimmed. He said such work could begin as early as Thursday. The last trimming, which was trees from Selleck Woods to 9 Little Brook Road, impacted three to four trees, Poirot said.

Neighbors, who are fighting Eversource’s proposed removal of some 50 trees along the south side of the intersection of Little Brook and North Little Brook roads, say the electric company’s trimming plan was not warranted.

Natalie Tallis and her neighbors along Little Brook Road and North Little Brook Road have called on Stevenson to file a formal complaint with the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority concerning Friday’s work. At this point, Stevenson has chosen not to file such a complaint but acknowledged that the neighbors have that right.

The town’s tree warden has placed warning signs on some 50 trees, which sit at the south side of the intersection of Little Brook and North Little Brook roads. These trees have been tagged for removal as part of Eversource’s tree trimming and hazardous tree removal program.

Stevenson is backing neighbors, who oppose the removals and have filed a formal objection to the tree warden. Stevenson said a public hearing will be held, but no date has yet been scheduled.

Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross said the emergency tree work will address an immediate safety hazard in the company’s transmission right of way in Darien and a threat to electric service in lower Fairfield County.

“We take the neighbors’ concerns very seriously,” Poirot said, adding that the company is prepared to create a vegetation management plan for the area where trees are removed. “But we also have to take protection and operation of the power lines seriously as well.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

This story has been updated to reflect the last Eversource tree trimming in Darien affected three to four trees from Selleck Woods to 9 Little Brook Road.