The award comes from the National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters. PPL Electric Utilities met the five requirements for being a Tree Line USA utility:
- Using industry best practices for quality tree care.
- Training workers annually in tree care practices.
- Participating in and sponsoring tree planting and public education.
- Offering a tree-based energy conservation program.
- Participating in Arbor Day celebrations.
The Tree Line USA program promotes the dual goals of reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees.
"Trees are an important part of our urban landscape from an environmental and economic standpoint. Trees help not only clean the air and water sources, but also the shade they provide helps reduce peak energy usage and conserve energy," said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Utility providers like PPL (Electric Utilities) are setting a good example about the importance of taking care of a valuable community resource like trees."
Phil Walnock, manager of vegetation management for PPL Electric Utilities, said, "Our vegetation management approach is critical to providing safe, reliable electric service. Our program is very holistic and goes beyond proper pruning by qualified contractors. An equally important part of our efforts involves educating customers about smart planting around power lines for the long-term health of the tree."
As a Tree Line USA utility, PPL Electric Utilities uses partnerships to promote proper tree care and planting. The company joins with the American Chestnut Foundation and the Lehighton Shade Tree Commission in Arbor Day activities, and works with Audubon Pennsylvania to promote the suitable species of vegetation on power line rights of way that can benefit bird habitat.
Trees are one of the most common causes of power outages. At a cost of more than $30 million, PPL Electric Utilities maintains vegetation each year along nearly 8,000 miles of distribution and transmission power lines for safety and electric reliability. In 2002, PPL Electric Utilities adopted common tree-pruning standards -- supported by the Arbor Day Foundation -- across its 29-county service area. The company uses directional pruning techniques on its distribution lines and smaller transmission lines that remove only those branches growing toward power lines.
National Arbor Day
Friday, April 29, is National Arbor Day. Celebrate Arbor Day in a personal way by planting a tree yourself. The occasion dates to 1872 as a way to promote the value of trees and community tree planting. The National Arbor Day Foundation calls it "an act of optimism and a commitment to stewardship."
PPL Electric Utilities encourages thoughtful tree planting practices. Planting the right tree in the right place can ensure healthier trees for many years and reduce the need for utility clearing around power lines.
Before a homeowner plants a tree, it's important to know what the tree will look like as it nears maturity. The Arbor Day's website at www.arborday.org shows recommended species of trees to avoid utility power lines, to help cool your home in the summertime and break the cold winds to lower heating costs. The site's tree planting guide also advises proper spacing from buildings and other trees.
Around power lines, PPL Electric Utilities encourages planting smaller trees, such as flowering dogwoods, magnolias and redbuds. These trees grow no larger than 25 feet. Larger leafy trees like oaks, maples, pines and spruce trees can provide shade in warmer weather and drop their leaves to allow sunshine warmth during winter. Keep in mind that no trees should be planted under high-voltage electric transmission lines.
Shade trees should be planted on the east and western sides of the home and can reduce cooling costs by 20-30 percent. Evergreens can serve as a windbreak in the winter and reduce heating costs 10-20 percent. Evergreens planted along a property's northern side make it easier to heat the property during the harsher winter months.
PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.
SOURCE PPL Electric Utilities