READING, Pa., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across the Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) service area as part of its ongoing efforts to help maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.
Since the beginning of the year, contractors have trimmed nearly 500 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Penelec area as part of the company's more than $26.5 million vegetation management program for 2016, with an additional 3,600 miles expected to be completed by year end.
The tree trimming work in 2016 includes about $4.4 million for a special program to remove dead and dying ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer. The company expects to proactively remove approximately 42,000 affected ash trees by the end of the year before they potentially cause damage to Penelec's electrical system. Last year, Penelec spent approximately $3.9 million and removed more than 37,000 ash trees. Over the next five years, Penelec's ash tree removal program will cover about 18,000 miles of power line rights-of-way with the expected removal of more than 200,000 affected ash trees.
"Penelec is committed to enhancing customer service and our tree trimming program is one of the most important things we do every year to help maintain our electric system," said Scott Wyman, regional president, Penelec. "By continuing our special ash borer program and on-going vegetation management efforts, our goal is to reduce outages and improve service reliability even more by protecting our wires and other infrastructure from tree-related damage."
The vegetation management work is conducted by qualified contractors, including Aerial Solutions, Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Lewis Tree Service; Nelson Tree Service Inc., Rotor Blade, Treesmiths and York Tree Service Inc.
As part of its notification process, Penelec works with municipalities to inform them of tree trimming schedules. In addition, customers living in areas along company rights-of-way are notified prior to vegetation management work being done.
During the next several months, Penelec will be conducting tree trimming in the following locations: Birmingham, Philipsburg, Brockway, Brookville, Dubois, Johnstown, Westmont, Seward, Central City, Jennerstown, Stoystown, Blairsville, Erie, Harborcreek, Northeast, Edinboro, Union City, Emlenton, Titusville, Martinsburg, Hollidaysburg, Portage, Saxton, Shippensburg, Warren, Bradford, Towanda, Laporte, Monroeton, Mansfield and Franklin Forks.
The program includes inspecting vegetation near the lines to ensure trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree, while also maintaining safety near electric facilities. Trees that present a danger or are diseased also may be removed.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.