FAIRMONT, W.Va., Dec. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Mon Power and Potomac Edison, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), announced that residential customers will see about a $2.00 decrease in their monthly bill beginning in 2018 as a result of Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia orders regarding enhanced tree trimming and energy efficiency programs.
The first order approves a settlement of a Vegetation Management Surcharge filing that decreases by about $15 million costs associated with a multi-year vegetation management plan designed to help reduce the frequency and duration of tree-related power outages. The second order approves a filing by the companies requesting a $5.4 million reduction in the costs to operate energy efficiency programs in the utilities' West Virginia service areas in 2018.
Taken together, the orders will lower the monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity by about 1.7 percent or $ 1.95. The savings components include a $1.44 decrease for tree trimming and a $0.51 decrease for energy efficiency costs.
Since the enhanced tree trimming program began in April 2014, forestry crews have trimmed trees ground to sky along more than 19,000 miles of transmission and distribution line right-of-way. The work helps reduce the risk of overhanging limbs getting into electrical equipment and causing outages. The remaining 11,000 miles will be completed in 2018 and 2019. To date, more than 2.9 million trees have been trimmed and about 800,000 dead or dying trees have been removed.
"The enhanced vegetation management program is a vast undertaking, considering that the 30,000 miles of power line right-of-way in our West Virginia service area exceeds the circumference of the Earth," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia Operations. "Our customers have benefitted from the work, experiencing fewer and shorter tree-related outages since the program was implemented."
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in the northern half of West Virginia and Potomac Edison serves about 140,000 customers in the state's Eastern Panhandle. Follow the companies on Twitter @MonPowerWV and @PotomacEdison.
FirstEnergy is 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.
Editor's Note: Photos of FirstEnergy's enhanced tree trimming program are available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.