The National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, has recognized FirstEnergy and its 10 electric utilities as a Tree Line USA utility for 18 consecutive years.
The award recognizes investor-owned and public utility companies – electric, gas and water – that promote the dual goals of reliable utility service and healthy trees along America's streets and highways. Award-winning companies demonstrate excellence in tree care, training and public education.
"We're very proud to again be recognized with this important award that highlights our important work striking a balance between service reliability and maintaining the beauty of the communities we serve," said David Karafa, vice president, Distribution Support, FirstEnergy. "Our employees and contractors work hard to learn and use proper tree care techniques to minimize our impact on the environment."
FirstEnergy's tree care program combines the best practices of certified arborists and foresters to keep vegetation away from power lines and other electric equipment, which helps reduce the number and severity of service interruptions.
"Trees are a critical part of urban landscapes all across the United States," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Service providers like FirstEnergy show that caring for urban trees is good for business, for customers and for the community."
To achieve the Tree Line USA designation, companies must meet five program standards: follow industry criteria for quality tree care; provide annual training for employees in best tree-care practices; sponsor tree-planting and public education programs on appropriate plantings; maintain a tree-based energy conservation program; and participate in Arbor Day events.
In addition to enhancing service reliability and natural beauty, FirstEnergy's tree trimming programs are designed to help ensure the public safety and the safety of utility line crews, especially during storms and other hazardous conditions.