History

CNUC was founded in 1999 by Stephen R. Cieslewicz and Robert Novembri to provide utility vegetation management (UVM) consulting services to utility companies, regulators and UVM service providers.

Cieslewicz and Novembri had strong backgrounds in UVM, each of them with more than 20 years of experience at Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the largest utilities in the United States. Both played a key role in developing PG&E’s program during a time of expansive changes in California’s UVM regulations. Cieslewicz was also active in the UVM industry, serving as president of the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) and as a member of the committee that developed the ISA Utility Specialist certification.

Following the August 14, 2003 blackout, CNUC became heavily involved in the formation of federal UVM regulations. Cieslewicz and Novembri were chosen to be principal UVM investigators for the Joint U.S./Canada Power Systems Outage Task Force and commissioned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to author the preliminary and final UVM reports on the blackout. Since then, Cieslewicz has assisted the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) with the drafting of FAC-003-1 and FAC-003-2.

In 2002, CNUC published a UVM benchmarking study, the largest and most extensive study focused exclusively on UVM. In 2006, the company conducted a second study and published multiple reports, including a state by state review of UVM regulatory requirements. The information obtained through these studies has been vital to the continual development and success of UVM programs across the U.S. and Canada.

Novembri retired in 2007, and CNUC became a part of the Wright Service Corp. family of companies, with Cieslewicz named president and chief consultant. CNUC soon began providing utility arborists and foresters and turn-key UVM operations to utilities in the western and later, southeastern, areas of the U.S. CNUC added to its innovative research and consulting, completing surveys and reports tailored to utilities across North America.

Cieslewicz also continued to champion UVM at the federal level, initiating and participating in multiple trips to Washington D.C. as a part of a key UAA task force. The task force, which included utility foresters, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Vegetation Management Task Force members, and then UAA Executive Director Derek Vannice, met with stakeholders and policymakers at FERC, the Environmental Protection Agency, NERC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Energy and numerous legislators.

CNUC has significantly developed its staff, service offerings and experience in recent years. Operations have expanded in all regions of the U.S., and Derek Vannice joined the company in 2011 as vice president of operations. A third benchmark publication was released in July 2010, a nearly 500 page volume of data, analysis and professional commentary developed from two 2009 studies of the UVM programs of more than 65 North American utilities and the company’s 2002 and 2006 studies.