HARTFORD, CT (CBSNewYork) – In the severe weather of 2011, many power outages were caused when trees and branches came down and knocked out the utility lines.

Now, tree trimming has begun and according to Connecticut Light & Power spokesman Mitch Gross, the decision has been made to double up on the amount of tree trimming done last year.

System-wide, more than $53 million has been budgeted.

“We have nearly 17,000 miles of overhead lines that we are responsible for,” he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “In fact, last year, over 70 percent of our outages were caused by trees across our system.”

Gross says CL&P understands how customers feel about their trees. So, each property owner must sign off, giving full approval before any tree trimming is done on privately owned land.

As a bonus, tree crews will cut up the limbs for firewood and stack it on the property, of the owner so desires.

What else do you think CL&P should do to improve its system? Sound off in the comments section below!