FAIRMONT, W.Va., April 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues its enhanced tree trimming program, moving into the third year of a multi-year plan designed to help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages associated with storms.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,100 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Mon Power area as part of the company's approximately $72 million vegetation management program for 2017, with an additional 3,400 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.
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 enhanced program involves trimming trees ground to sky, which helps reduce the risk of overhanging limbs getting into electrical equipment and causing outages.
"Three years into our enhanced vegetation management program, our customers are experiencing fewer tree-related outages as we have trimmed more than one million trees along 14,000 miles of electric lines to the new ground-to-sky standards," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia Operations. "In the areas where the new trimming specifications have been used, there have been 33 percent less tree-related outage minutes compared to the 2013 baseline before the program started. We expect the favorable trend to continue as more miles are trimmed to more rigorous specifications."
The initial cycle length for tree work under the enhanced program is five years, ending in 2019. Cycles in future years will be determined after the results of the initial work are evaluated.
Mon Power will conduct tree trimming in or near the following counties and communities before the end of the year:
- Barbour – Arden, Belington, Tacy
- Braxton – Heaters, Servia
- Brooke – Beech Bottom, Follansbee, Wellsburg
- Clay – Wallback
- Gilmer – Sand Fork
- Greenbrier – White Sulphur Springs
- Hancock – New Cumberland, Newell, Chester
- Harrison – Clarksburg, Shinnston, Stonewood
- Lewis – Jane Lew, Weston
- Marion – Fairmont, Winfield
- Monongalia – Cheat Lake, Granville, Morgantown, Wadestown, Westover
- Monroe –Union
- Nicholas – Richwood
- Pendleton – Upper Tract
- Pocahontas – Bartow
- Preston – Hazelton, Masontown, Reedsville
- Randolph – Elkins, Mill Creek, Pickens
- Ritchie – Cairo, Ellenboro
- Summers – Hinton
- Taylor – Pruntytown, Flemington
- Upshur – Century, Rock Cave
- Webster – Diana, Webster Springs
- Wirt – Elizabeth
- Wood – Boaz, North Hills, Parkersburg, Washington, Waverly
To perform the work, the number of tree-trimming contractors in the Mon Power area was nearly doubled, from 640 to almost 1,200. 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.
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. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Aerial photos comparing a power line right-of-way before and after photos trimming are available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.