GREENSBURG, Pa., April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its 24-county Pennsylvania service area as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance system reliability.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,000 circuit miles of electric lines in the West Penn Power service area as part of the nearly $40 million vegetation management program for 2017, with an additional 3,900 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.
"The tree trimming we have done over the past several years is making a difference keeping the lights on for our customers," said David W. McDonald, president of West Penn Power. "In particular, we have stepped up our efforts to proactively remove tens of thousands of deteriorated ash trees bordering our electric distribution lines that have been killed or weakened by the Emerald Ash Borer. These trees pose a growing risk to our infrastructure, and we want to remove as many as possible before the onset of the summer thunderstorm season."
For 2017, West Penn Power's tree program includes about $7 million to remove more than 56,000 ash trees along distribution lines in western Pennsylvania. As of early April, more than 15,000 ash trees had been removed.
During the upcoming months, West Penn Power will be conducting tree trimming work in the following counties and communities:
- Allegheny – Bethel Park, Cheswick, Natrona Heights, Peters Township, Springdale, Upper St. Clair Township
- Butler – Cooperstown, Kaylor, Parker, Portersville
- Centre Howard, Milesburg, Spring Mills
- Fayette – Footedale, Merrittstown, Mill Run, New Salem, Normalville, Republic, Uniontown, Wickhaven
- Washington –Bentleyville, Finleyville, Gastonville, LaGonda, Speers, Washington
- Westmoreland – Greensburg, Herminie, Larimer, Murrysville, Norvelt, Smithton, Stahlstown, Washington Township, West Fairfield.
Tree trimming is done on a five-year cycle. The program includes inspecting vegetation near the lines to ensure trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree, while also maintaining safety near electric facilities. Trees that present a danger or are diseased also may be removed.
As part of its notification process, West Penn 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.
The vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including: Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Jaflo Inc., Lewis Tree Service Inc., Penn Line Service Inc., and Davey Tree Expert Company.
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.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.