Penelec's 2020 Tree Trimming to Enhance Reliability

|Jun 16|magazine9 min read

READING, Pa., June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its Pennsylvania service areas as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance electric service reliability. 

Maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment can help reduce the frequency and duration of tree-related power outages, especially those associated with severe weather such as summer thunderstorms.

Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed along about 2,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Penelec area as part of the company's $37.4 million vegetation management program for 2020. Penelec's program remains on track to complete an additional 2,300 miles of work by year end.

The tree trimming work in 2020 includes removal of remaining dead and dying ash trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer before they can cause damage to Penelec's electrical system. The company is completing its five-year program started in 2015 to proactively remove more than 200,000 affected ash trees along 18,000 miles of power line rights-of-way in the Penelec service area.

"Penelec 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 Nick Austin, regional president, Penelec. "Our tree trimming is making a positive difference in keeping the lights on for our customers.  In 2019, the average number of customers interrupted per tree-related outage dropped 6 percent compared to 2018."

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, Penelec 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. 

Penelec is scheduled in 2020 to trim trees along transmission lines and distribution circuits in the following locations:

  • Altoona, Alexandria, Beccaria, Bedford, Benton, Berlin, Blairsville, Brockway, Brookville, Cochranton, Columbia Cross Roads, Corry, Dubois, Eagles Mere, Edinboro, Erie, Fairview, Fallentimber, Falls, Fannettsburg, Galeton, Glen Campbell, Grover, Huntingdon, Hooversville, Indiana, Lewis Run, Johnstown, Knox, Lake City, Madera, Mansfield, Marienville, Meadville, Morris Run, New Albany, New Milford, North East, Oil City, Port Allegany, Petersburg, Punxsutawney, Roaring Springs, Rockwood, Roxbury, Shinglehouse, Shippensburg, Somerset, Starrucca, Summerville, Susquehanna, Thompson, Titusville, Union City, Utica, Wesleyville, Warren and Wyalusing.

The vegetation management work is conducted by qualified line clearance arborists, including Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Penn Line Service, Hazlett Tree Service, Townsend Tree Service, Lewis Tree Service, and Treesmiths.

Penelec serves approximately 585,000 customers within 17,600 square miles of northern and central Pennsylvania. Follow Penelec on Twitter @Penelec and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PenelecElectric.

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. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

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.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.