The Connecticut Light and Power Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
(860) 947-2000


News Release

Contacts: Frank J. Poirot
Office: (860) 665-3409
After Hours Phone: (800) 789-2290

WMECo Upgrades Grid to Better Withstand Storms
Improves Reliability for Berkshires Customers


Springfield, Mass. (June 25, 2014) Construction activity along a remote electric right-of-way in the hills of Western Massachusetts has picked up recently as WMECo works to improve the strength and reliability of the high-voltage grid serving customers in the region. The improvements include installing stronger poles to better withstand the effects of severe storms and replacing additional structures damaged by woodpeckers and the weather.


This work is being carried out on roughly 29 miles of WMECo’s existing transmission right-of-way between Pittsfield and Northfield. Most of this right-of-way traverses rugged terrain in remote areas of the Berkshire Hills, which requires advance work by construction crews to clear vegetation and build access roads and temporary crane pads to provide safe work areas for heavy equipment.

“The high-voltage transmission system is an electric super highway with traffic flowing slightly slower than the speed of light and substations serving as the off ramps,” said Craig Hallstrom, President of WMECo and NSTAR Electric. “This highway needs periodic maintenance and upgrades to keep the traffic flowing smoothly and provide customer benefits for decades to come.”

WMECo expects to complete this work in 2015, weather permitting, without any related interruption of service to homes or businesses.

As part of this project, the company is replacing transmission structures for several reasons. Some wood structures have been heavily perforated by woodpeckers, which are common to remote areas of Berkshire and Franklin counties. In addition, ice and wind conditions have severely damaged other structures, while others have reached the end of their reliable service life – about 50 years. The replacement H-frame structures will be similar in appearance to the original structures, but will be made from steel and therefore better able to withstand the elements.

Additionally, insulator equipment will be replaced on 170 structures, as weathering has reduced the effectiveness of existing insulators over the years. Insulators support the weight of the suspended electric wires from the transmission structures and restrict the flow of current to the structure.

Customers with questions or concerns related to this work may call WMECo’s Transmission Information Line at 1-800-793-2202, or send an e-mail to TransmissionInfo@nu.com.

Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo), a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE:NU), transmits and delivers electricity to 210,000 customers in 59 cities and towns. For more information, please visit our website: www.wmeco.com, like us on Facebook (facebook.com/WMECo) and follow us on Twitter @wmeco.


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CONTACT:
Frank Poirot

frank.poirot@nu.com
(860) 665-3409




Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) is a Fortune 500 diversified energy company located in Connecticut with operations throughout the Northeast.  Through its competitive and regulated subsidiaries, NU provides Energy for a Changing World, with a full range of energy products and services to millions of residential and business customers from Maine to Maryland.  From delivering electricity and natural gas, to marketing energy commodities, to operating and maintaining power plant facilities, NU is committed to safety, reliability and expanding consumers' energy options.  For more information on Northeast Utilities and its subsidiaries, visit the NU family of Web sites at www.nu.com.

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