GREENSBURG, Pa., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across West Penn Power's 24-county service area in central and western Pennsylvania as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance system reliability.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed about 1,200 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the West Penn Power area as part of the approximately $27.4 million vegetation management spend for 2016, with an additional 3,500 miles expected to be completed by year end. The work is done to help maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.
"The tree trimming we have done over the past several years continues to make a noticeable difference keeping the lights on for our customers," said David W. McDonald, president of West Penn Power. "In 2010, trees accounted for one in three power interruptions for West Penn Power customers. By 2015, tree-related outages had been reduced to about one in every five outages. We intend to build on that positive performance to further enhance service reliability for our customers through timely and thorough vegetation management along our rights-of-way, which also includes proactively removing thousands of deteriorated ash trees bordering our electric distribution lines that have been killed or weakened by the Emerald Ash Borer."
The 2016 tree trimming work includes about $3 million to remove dead and dying ash trees. As of early April, nearly 8,000 ash and other trees that could affect electric equipment have been removed.
During the upcoming months, West Penn Power will be conducting tree trimming work in the following counties and communities:
- Allegheny – Bethel Park, Elizabeth Township, Millerstown, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair Township, Cheswick, Springdale, Natrona Heights
- Butler – Butler, Forestville, Prospect, Unionville, Nixon
- Centre – Centre Hall, Millheim, Port Matilda, Blanchard
- Fayette – Arensburg, East Millsboro, Edenborn, Grays Landing, Markleysburg, Perryopolis
- Washington – Canonsburg, McGovern, Claysville, Washington
- Westmoreland – Rillton, Delmont, Hempfield Township, Manor, New Stanton, Darlington, Laughlintown, Mountain View, Derry, New Kensington, Scottdale, Bridgeport
The tree trimming is done on a five-year cycle. Vegetation is inspected and trees are pruned in a manner that helps maintain the health of the tree while also maintaining safe and reliable electric service for customers. In some cases, trees that are considered to present a danger or are diseased may be removed.
As part of its notification process, West Penn Power works with municipalities to inform them of tree trimming schedules. In addition, customers living in areas along company rights-of-way also are notified prior to vegetation management work being done.
The vegetation management work is conducted by qualified contractors, including Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Jaflo Inc., Lewis Tree Service Inc., Penn Line Service Inc., and Davey Tree Expert Company.
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.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.