WILLIAMSPORT, Md., June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its service area in western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance service reliability. This work helps keep power flowing to customers around the clock by preventing tree-related outages.
Maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment can help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, especially those associated with severe weather, such as the storms experienced in recent months.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed along more than 1,365 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Potomac Edison service area as part of the company's $34 million vegetation management program for 2020. Potomac Edison expects to complete an additional 1,600 miles of work by year end.
The tree trimming work also includes a special program to target the removal of more than 3,700 dead and dying ash trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer before they can cause damage to Potomac Edison's electrical system.
"Potomac Edison is committed to enhancing customer service reliability, and our vegetation management program is one of the most important things we do every year to help maintain our electric system and restore power quickly after storms," said James Sears, President of Maryland Operations for Potomac Edison. "The tree trimming we have done over the last several years has helped cut the number of tree-related outages by nearly half, significantly reducing service interruptions for our customers. We also expect our special ash tree removal program will further enhance service reliability for our customers."
The vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Lewis Tree, N.G. Gilbert, Nelson Tree Service, Wright Tree Service and Xylem Tree Experts.
As part of its notification process, Potomac Edison works with municipalities to inform them of tree trimming schedules. In addition, customers living in areas along company rights-of-way are notified prior to vegetation management work being done.
Potomac Edison will be conducting tree trimming work in the following counties and communities:
- Allegany – Clarysville, Cresaptown, Cumberland, Flintstone, Frostburg, LaVale, Lonaconing, Mexico Farms, Oldtown, Westernport
- Berkeley (WV) – Bunker Hill, Falling Waters, Inwood, Martinsburg
- Carroll – Mt. Airy, Union Bridge
- Frederick – Braddock Heights, Frederick, Middletown, Mt. Airy, Myersville, Point of Rocks
- Garrett – Friendsville, Hoyes, McHenry, Oakland, Swanton
- Hampshire (WV) – Green Spring, Levels, Kirby. Romney, Shanks
- Hardy (WV) – Mathias, Needmore, Rio
- Jefferson (WV) – Bolivar, Charlestown, Kearneysville, Harpers Ferry, Middleway, Shepherdstown, Ranson
- Mineral (WV) – Barnum, Ridgeley, Wiley Ford
- Montgomery – Damascus, Mt. Airy
- Morgan (WV) – Berkeley Springs, Great Cacapon
- Washington – Cearfoss, Cedar Lawn, Downsville, Halfway, Huyetts, Hagerstown, Hancock, Kemps Mill, Paramount, Williamsport
Tree trimming is done on a five-year cycle in Maryland, and a four-year cycle in West Virginia. 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 considered to present a danger or are diseased may be removed. 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.
Potomac Edison serves about 270,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 137,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/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 approximately 24,500 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 workers using bucket trucks to trim 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.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.