Distribution Line Upgrades

The distribution portion of an electric system consists of the wires and poles typically visible along the streets and public ways, which ultimately connect to your home or business (learn more about how the electric system works). It is this portion of the system that will be upgraded from 4 kilovolts (kV) to 14 kV throughout the Island beginning in July 2017 (note: a small section of distribution work in Newport was already completed in Spring 2016).

This will require the running of new wires along several roads and properties on the Island, along with new, taller poles (approx. 5-10 ft. taller) to ensure the higher-voltage lines meet federal electric safety standards. Crews will be visible in bucket trucks and other equipment to perform this work. To minimize impacts, National Grid will execute a traffic management plan with state, city and public safety officials.

In advance of the distribution line work, crews will have to trim trees in and around the system. Tree trimming is paramount to maintaining a reliable electric system. You may see employees of our tree contractor canvassing the neighborhood prior to work being done in your area to notify residents about this work. National Grid always recommends customers ask for proper identification when being approached by a National Grid employee or contractor. Due to the location of the existing infrastructure, some work will need to take place on private property. National Grid will work closely with those property owners to coordinate access and work schedules. No customer electric service interruptions are anticipated.

Please explore our FAQs for additional information.

Work Locations

Work will take place along and near the following roads:

  • Aquidneck Avenue
  • East Main Road at West Main Road
  • Green End Avenue
  • High Street
  • Mitchell Lane
  • West Main Road (to Vernon Avenue)
  • Valley Road

Please explore our distribution upgrades route map for additional details.


Tree trimming has already begun and will continue for the next several months. Distribution line work is scheduled to begin in July 2017 and continue into spring 2018, with the heaviest period of work starting in September 2017. Future phases of this work are scheduled for 2018 and beyond (see map for more details).

Project Maps