The state’s biggest power company has been ordered to the Public Service Commission conference table to talk about new ways to keep big power failures from happening during the worst weather. Company officials aren’t sure what to say. Ameren-UE’s President Gary Rainwater says the company has discussed about all it knows to discuss…But it will be at the meeting early next month. He says it will be difficult to come up with anything new. But he says the company will do its best. He says the company already complies with all state regulations on trimming tree branches near power lines…that burying all cables would be a multi-billion dollar program that would take 20 years to complete…. Executive Vice-President Thomas Voss says the PSC wants everything on the table, though. He says issues could include more authority to trim trees farther back on the right of way, or power to remove trees altogether. He says it’s important to discuss several issues and get the public involved. Rainwater says a balancing issue is involved—how much the company wants to offend customers by cutting down their trees to improve the reliability of the power system….and whether the public would support changes in laws and ordinances allowing more cutting and tree removal.
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