To help enhance service reliability for customers, FirstEnergy Corp. continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across the Pennsylvania Electric Co. service area to maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.
Since the beginning of the year, contractors have trimmed trees along more than 2,600 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Penelec service area as part of the company's more than $26.5 million vegetation management program for 2016, with an additional 1,500 miles expected to be completed by year-end.
During the next several months, Penelec will conduct tree trimming in the following locations: Bradford, Brockway, Dubois, Emlenton, Erie, Franklin Forks, Harborcreek, Johnstown, Mansfield, Martinsburg, Monroeton, Northeast, Philipsburg, Portage, Saxton, Seward, Shippensburg, Titusville, Towanda, Union City, Warren, and Westmont.
The tree trimming work in 2016 includes about $4.4 million for a special program to remove dead and dying ash trees damaged by the emerald ash borer. Penelec expects to proactively remove approximately 42,000 affected ash trees by the end of the year before they potentially cause damage to Penelec's electrical system. Over the next five years, Penelec's ash tree removal program will cover about 18,000 miles of power line rights-of-way with the expected removal of more than 200,000 affected ash trees.
"Penelec continues its efforts to enhance customer service and our tree trimming program is one of the most important things we do every year to help maintain our electric system," said Scott Wyman, regional president, Penelec. "By combining our special ash borer program with our ongoing vegetation management efforts, our goal is to reduce outages and improve service reliability by protecting our wires and other infrastructure from tree-related damage."
The vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including Aerial Solutions, Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Lewis Tree Service, Nelson Tree Service Inc., Rotor Blade, Treesmiths and York Tree Service Inc.
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.