FAIRMONT, W.Va., April 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has begun its 2021 tree trimming program and will clear vegetation around nearly 5,700 miles of power lines this year as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance service reliability for West Virginia customers.
Maintaining proper clearances and removing dead or diseased trees around electrical equipment can help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, especially those associated with severe weather. Clearing incompatible vegetation under power lines also results in easier access for company personnel to inspect and maintain lines and make repairs faster if an outage occurs. In Mon Power's 34-county service territory, total customer outage minutes, including during major storm events, have dropped by more than 40% since the first full year of its existing tree-trimming program in 2015.
"Our tree-trimming program is critical to identifying potential hazards across our service area and is one of the most effective ways we can minimize service interruptions for our customers," said Jim Myers, president of West Virginia operations for FirstEnergy.
Mon Power operates on a four-year trimming cycle and will spend more than $70 million on its vegetation management program this year, which includes 480 miles of overhead transmission power lines. During the trimming process, vegetation is inspected, and trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree while also maintaining safety near electric facilities. In some cases, trees that are diseased or pose a threat to power lines or equipment may be removed. Mon Power's program includes about $2.5 million to proactively remove deteriorated ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer along larger distribution lines and lines near electric substations.
The vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including Asplundh Tree Expert, GF Tree Service, Jaflo, Penn Line, The Energy Group, Townsend and UAL.
Mon Power works with municipalities to inform them of tree trimming schedules, and customers living in areas along company rights-of-way are notified prior to vegetation management work being done. Mon Power will be conducting tree trimming work in the following counties and communities in 2021:
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 approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of utility personnel trimming trees near FirstEnergy power lines are available for download on Flickr. A video explaining FirstEnergy's vegetation management techniques can also be found on YouTube.