Springfield officials suggest alternatives for CWLP trimming trees around power lines

Springfield officials suggest alternatives for CWLP trimming trees around power lines

Trees against power lines spark the most outages when storms hit.

City, Water, Light, and Power (CWLP) spends millions every few years to prevent this from happening, but with the budget crisis, some city officials are suggesting other options.

CWLP said most outages come from tree contact on power lines, so trimming trees for about $6 million every few years is a necessity.

"Instead of making the trees look really bad under the power lines,” said Ward 10 Alderman Ralph Hanauer. “And in 4 to 5 years, having to revisit the trees, what if we looked at cutting the trees down completely and then we put an ornamental tree that will not grow that high."

Alderman Hanauer said there could be tree farms in places around Springfield.

Alderman Kris Thielen suggested, putting power lines underground.

CWLP said these options are all too costly, which Alderman Thielen said they could look into starting an investment. But another idea brought up by city officials, including Alderman Thielen might be possible.

What about hiring Springfield Public Works with a concept called ‘shared services’?

"Do you do just direct cost allocation, i.e. People and equipment and the training or do you do the direct and indirect cost allocation,” said William McCarty Office of Budget and Management. “Which would be, again your direct cost plus your indirect cost of management and some other operational costs within the Department of Public Works."

CWLP’s money would go to the city, rather than a private company. City leaders said it's too early to decide.

“That all has to be figured into the equation,” said Mayor Jim Langfelder. “And we need to factor that into the analysis of what is the best route previously it was always better to outsource it but we have to revisit it based on today's numbers."

The mayor said it's too early to decide between any of the new options. The mayor asked CWLP to look at some other utility programs to see how they compare.

"We owe it to the ratepayers and the citizens of Springfield to [look into] that,” said Ald. Hanauer. “To get the best bang for the buck to get the best service for the least amount of money."

Aldermen are voting on a CWLP two-year contract to spend $6 million on a private company Nelson Tree Service, Inc. to trim trees Tuesday.

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