Unitil is committed every day to helping our customers conserve natural resources and increase the efficiency of their energy use. We also seek to partner with community organizations in advancing new and sustainable energy and environmental projects. Such practical initiatives may include local wind, solar, or other renewable energy systems, environmental conservation and remediation efforts, or studies that increase public understanding of energy production, supply, and regulatory issues.
Review select case studies of local environmental projects Unitil and its people have supported.
As one of the region’s utilities, Unitil takes proactive steps to ensure our impact on the area’s natural resources is minimized so that its uniqueness is preserved for future generations. Environmental protection is a priority we take seriously. At Unitil, we are proud of our environmental accomplishments, both past and present, and are committed to continuing as a partner in the preservation and enhancement of the region’s environmental heritage.
Protecting the environment serves to enhance the quality of life for New Englanders, and we use construction and design methods that minimize environmental impacts when maintaining our electric and natural gas infrastructure. Our employees live in the region too, so our commitment to the environment is a priority not only during work but at home, as well.
Unitil strives to protect and preserve the beautiful and historic lands that host our facilities. We balance environmental responsibility and our customers' needs for affordable, reliable energy by effectively managing the environmental impact of our electric and gas operations. By using minimally invasive construction methods in rebuilding older transmission lines, the footprint of our operations are reduced.
Some projects utilize helicopters to deliver new poles and materials, reducing the use of heavy trucks and equipment in environmentally sensitive areas. And during construction, endangered species are identified and their habitats protected. Our substations and gas facilities, too, are built with brevity in mind to lessen the extent of their disturbing the surrounding locale.
Recycling materials is another way Unitil manages the impact our operations have on the environment. Hundreds of tons of paper, cardboard, wire, cable, lighting and batteries are recycled annually through our waste consolidation process. This recycling not only saves landfill space and energy by reusing these materials, but reduces our cost to deliver energy to our customers.
Unitil has the responsibility and rights to access and maintain electric and natural gas infrastructure in accordance with established right-of-way law. A strip of land, usually about 30 to 50 feet wide, containing electric or gas transmission equipment is known as a right-of-way (ROW). Typically and prior to its construction, a permanent ROW for a power line or pipeline is acquired from each property owner impacted by the construction. The ROW grants the crossing of the power line or pipeline across a property owner’s parcel.
The ROW, also called an easement, stays with the title of the property as it is transferred from one subsequent owner to another. The easement is held by Unitil or a subsidiary and enables us to operate, inspect, repair, maintain or replace its electric or gas equipment in a timely manner.
Wherever there’s electricity, there’s also the presence of electric and magnetic fields (EMF). These fields are invisible lines of force that surround electrical wires and devices.
An electric field is produced by the presence of voltage and its strength increases as the voltage increases. This field is even present when the device is switched off, as long as it remains connected to the source of electric power. A magnetic field results from the flow of current through electrical wires or devices and its strength increases as the current increases.
Both electric and magnetic fields decrease as the distance from the source increases. However, EMF constantly surrounds us. Common sources of EMF are:
Given the widespread use of electrical wiring and devices in our daily lives, extensive studies have been conducted on the health effects of EMF. However, these studies have not revealed that exposure to EMF causes or contribute to cancer or other diseases. Generally, the studies conclude that EMF is not a health threat; however, some epidemiology studies have reported a weak association with childhood leukemia, which warrants further research.
For more information on environmental issues, please contact us at 866-933-3820 888-301-7700 866-933-3821.