FAIRMONT, W.Va., April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to work its enhanced tree trimming program approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia last year to help lessen the frequency and duration of power outages associated with storms.
Mon Power expects to invest approximately $72 million in 2015 to trim trees and control vegetation to help maintain proper clearances along more than 4,500 miles of distribution and transmission lines.
Launched in mid-2014, the enhanced tree trimming program focuses on trimming trees near distribution lines in rural areas and along transmission lines to enhance service reliability. The tree work will be done on a five-year cycle through 2019, with a four-year cycle possible in future years after results of the initial work are evaluated.
"Less than a year into Mon Power's new tree trimming program, we've already seen progress in reducing the number of tree-related outages," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia Operations. "In 2012, trees accounted for 37 percent of service interruptions to Mon Power's customers. By the end of 2014, that number had been reduced to 30 percent. This year, we expect additional reliability benefits as more miles are trimmed to the more rigorous specifications."
All tree trimming work is conducted by Mon Power's certified forestry contractors, including: Asplundh Tree Experts; Davey Tree Expert Company; Jaflo, Inc.; Penn Line Service; Nelson Tree Service; Townsend Tree Service; and Trees, Inc. The enhanced tree trimming program has resulted in tree contractors hiring as many as 500 additional tree specialists at certain times to do work on behalf of Mon Power.
Mon 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.
During the upcoming months, Mon Power will be conducting tree trimming work in or near the following counties and communities:
- Barbour – Berryburg, Berryburg Junction, Century, Hopewell, Phillipi, Volga
- Braxton – Frametown
- Calhoun – Grantsville
- Doddridge – Leopold
- Gilmer – Glenville, Troy
- Grant – Henry, Mount Storm
- Greenbrier – Alderson, Frankford, Lewisburg
- Hancock – Kings Creek, New Cumberland, New Martinsville, Wellsburg, Weirton
- Harrison – Anmore, Clarksburg, Meadow Brook, Sardis
- Jackson – Harrisville, Lone Cedar, Murraysville, North Bend State Park
- Lewis – Walkersville, Weston
- Nicholas – Birch River, Canvas, Craigsville, Gilboa, Summersville, Zela
- Marion County – Basnettville, Baxter, Fairmont, Fairview, Grant Town, Kingmont, Mannington, McClellan, Pleasant Valley, Tappan
- Mineral – Blaine, Nethkin
- Monongalia – Granville, Lowsville, Morgantown
- Pendleton – Franklin
- Pocahontas – Marlinton, Snowshoe
- Preston – Aurora, Cathedral, Colebank, Howesville, Tunnelton
- Randolph – Dailey, Wymer
- Ritchie – Mountain, Pennsboro
- Roane – Left Hand, Newton, Looneyville
- Summers – Jumping Branch
- Tyler – Sistersville, Middlebourne
- Upshur – Buckhannon, Tennerton
- Webster – Cleveland, Cowen, Hacker Valley, Webster Springs
- Wetzel – Jacksonburg, Paden City
- Wood – Coldwater Creek, Green Meadows Addition, Lawnsdale, Pond Creek, Rockport, Saulsbury, Scenic Hills, Vienna, Wadeville
Forestry crews use hand-operated tools, saws, mowers, aerial helicopter saws and EPA-approved herbicide applications to trim trees and maintain vegetation along FirstEnergy's distribution and transmission networks. Clearing incompatible vegetation under power lines results in easier access for company personnel to inspect and maintain lines and make repairs sooner if an outage occurs.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Follow Mon Power on Twitter @MonPowerWV.
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. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com, and follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Aerial photos comparing a power line right-of-way before and after trimming are available for download on Flickr.
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Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to successfully implement our revised sales strategy for the Competitive Energy Services segment; the accomplishment of our regulatory and operational goals in connection with our transmission investment plan, pending transmission and distribution rate cases and the effectiveness of our repositioning strategy to reflect a more regulated business profile; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, assessment of the reliability of our transmission system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission investment opportunities; the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters at the federal level and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases, including the Electric Security Plan IV in Ohio; the impact of the federal regulatory process on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulated entities and transactions, in particular FERC regulation of wholesale energy and capacity markets, including PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC-jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service, and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; regulatory outcomes associated with storm restoration costs, including but not limited to, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm of 2011; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and their availability and impact on retail margins; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, proposed greenhouse gases emission and water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such expenditures could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our previously-implemented dividend reduction and our other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our announced financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.