CMP cites concerns over tree health, power grid while monitoring Hurricane Lee

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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MAINE (WMTW) - Central Maine Power shares concern as officials monitor Hurricane Lee’s path toward Maine.

Hurricane Lee is expected to bring impacts to Maine as early as Friday.

The power company continues to watch the path of the storm, adding regular updates will be provided when that path becomes clearer in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Officials note a concern for the trees of Maine due to an ‘extraordinary wet summer’ causing tree stress.

Tree stress happens in saturated soil, flooding and nutrient runoff leads to weakened or rotten roots.

Trees in this condition may begin changing color or losing leaves as early as August.

“This summer, the number one cause of power outages has been from stressed trees located outside CMP’s legal ‘right-of-way’ zone that either fall or lose limbs during storms,” said Katie Manende, who leads CMP’s vegetation management program.

Manende says the impacts on Maine’s power grid could be worsened due to tree stress, winds and Lee’s track.

For Central Maine Power to trim a tree, it must be in the MPUC-approved trim zone: 8 feet of side clearance, 15 feet overhead, and 10 feet from the lowest electrical conductor.

If trees are on private property, the power company must speak with landowners before modifications are made.