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Tree-Trimming Work Underway to Help Minimize Power Outages for JCP&L Customers

April 23, 2024
FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light tree-trimming plan allocates $32.5 million to enhance electric service reliability along more than 3,400 miles of power lines.

FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is trimming trees along more than 3,400 miles of power lines across its 13-county service territory as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance electric service reliability. This comprehensive vegetation management program is designed to help keep power flowing to customers by helping to reduce tree-related outages, such as those that can occur during severe weather.  

This year's $32.5 million plan is the first of an annual $1.5 million increase in tree trimming agreed to as part of a settlement with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). JCP&L will also spend an additional $2.5 million for each of the next five years to further expand the tree-trimming zones along 18 high-priority circuits throughout their central and northern New Jersey service territory. These circuits were identified through historical outage data.

"Falling trees and branches are the number one cause of power outages for our customers in New Jersey. Our year-round tree-trimming efforts are one of the most effective proactive steps we can take to help ensure safe, reliable and affordable electric service to our customers, especially as we move into the summer storm season," said JCP&L President, Jim Fakult.

Completed on a four-year cycle, JCP&L's tree-trimming program includes inspecting vegetation near power lines to ensure trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree while maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment. Tree trimming is conducted by certified forestry contractors under the company's direction.

Since January 1, contractors have trimmed trees along more than 638 miles of power lines, with a total of 3,419 miles expected to be completed by year end.

While JCP&L's tree-trimming program is designed to lower the risk of tree-related outages, work is limited to company rights-of-way. In 2023, 86% of tree-related outages in JCP&L's service territory were caused by trees located outside of these rights of way.

JCP&L will trim trees in the following counties and municipalities over the next two months:

  • Burlington – Chesterfield, Mansfield, New Hanover, North Hanover, Pemberton, Springfield, Wrightstown
  • Hunterdon – Alexandria, Clinton, Delaware Twp., East Amwell, Flemington, Frenchtown, Holland Twp., Kingwood, Lebanon, Milford, Readington, Stockton, Tewksbury, West Amwell
  • Mercer – East Windsor, Hightstown
  • Middlesex – Cranbury, Laurence Harbor, Monroe, Old Bridge
  • Monmouth – Aberdeen, Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Englishtown, Howell, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune Twp., Neptune City, Ocean Twp., Wall
  • Morris – Chatham, Chatham Twp., Chester, Denville, Harding, Long Hill, Madison, Mountain Lakes, Mt. Olive, Parsippany-Troy Hills
  • Ocean – Beachwood, Berkeley, Brick, Island Heights, Jackson, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Manchester, Plumsted, Point Pleasant Boro, South Toms River, Toms River
  • Passaic – Ringwood, Wanaque, Wayne
  • Somerset – Bernards, Bernardsville, Bridgewater, Far Hills, Peapack and Gladstone, Warren Twp.
  • Sussex – Andover, Andover Twp., Byram, Franklin, Fredon, Frelinghuysen, Green Twp., Stillwater, Walpack
  • Union – Berkeley Heights, Springfield, Summit
  • Warren – Allamuchy, Blairstown, Hardwick, Hope, Independence, Knowlton, Washington

Crews are also continuing a multi-year effort to identify and remove deteriorated ash trees that have been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. Nearly 53,000 dead and dying ash trees have been removed in JCP&L's service area, primarily in northern New Jersey, since the initiative began in 2017.

JCP&L works with municipalities to proactively inform them of vegetation management schedules. In addition, customers living in areas along company rights-of-way are notified prior to work being performed. To help further decrease tree-related outages, JCP&L's foresters are also working to educate residents who live near company equipment about the importance of properly maintaining trees on their own property.

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