By John Toole
---- — LONDONDERRY — A power transmission line upgrade by Public Service of New Hampshire soon could put helicopters over town.
PSNH recently notified residents who live near the line.
“PSNH utilizes a helicopter contractor to accomplish this type of work more efficiently and to minimize the impact to the surrounding environment,” the company said in a letter to residents. “As a result, you may notice helicopters hovering in the area and you may see linemen lowered onto transmission poles to attach new hardware.”
Construction is scheduled through the rest of this year. Work is expected to continue five or six days a week during daylight.
“This may be of particular interest to residents who have horses or other livestock on their property,” PSNH said.
PSNH spokesman Michael Skelton said the project affects a transmission line that runs 18 miles through Londonderry, Pelham and Hudson.
“This is a significant transmission line in a densely populated area of the state,” Skelton said.
The transmission line serves customers in Southern New Hampshire, including the state’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua.
In addition to allowing the company to meet growing demand for power, it also will help with system reliability, Skelton said.
“There has been a lot of growth in the last several decades,” he said. “The system needs to be upgraded to serve customers reliably.”
PSNH in recent years has been criticized for outages in Londonderry and Derry.
Town Council Chairman John Farrell said it’s been a problem for four or five years, with people concerned over outages.
“This rises to the top of the list on a regular basis,” he said.
While the transmission line project is expected to improve overall system reliability, Skelton said local outage trouble typically originates from storm related tree damage inflicted on neighborhood distribution lines.
Farrell said PSNH in June assured the council they are working on maintenance issues to limit outage trouble.
“I think everyone is pretty keyed in on this,” he said.
The company notified about 250 abutters about the transmission line.
“We’ve only had five inquiries with questions or concerns,” Skelton said.
Farrell said he’s heard nothing yet from residents.
PSNH has invited abutters to contact project outreach staffer Sandra Gagnon at 634-3181 or Sandra.Gagnon@psnh.com with questions.
“We want to manage this in a way that is very respectful of our neighbors,” Skelton said.