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West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its 24-county service area in central and western Pennsylvania. These activities help maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.
Since the beginning of the year, West Penn Power contractors have trimmed trees along approximately 1,100 circuit miles of electric lines as part of the company’s approximately $31 million vegetation management program for 2015, with an additional 3,400 miles expected to be completed by year end.
“The tree trimming we have done over the past several years has made a noticeable difference in reducing the number of tree-related outages,” said David W. McDonald, president of West Penn Power. “In 2011, trees accounted for one in three power interruptions for West Penn Power customers. By the end of 2014, tree-related outages had been reduced to about one in every five outages. With this year’s tree trimming program, we intend to further enhance service reliability for our customers.”
As part of West Penn Power’s tree trimming program, about $1 million will be spent to continue the aggressive removal of dead and dying ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer that began last year. The company is expecting to remove up to 10,000 ash trees in 2015, with about 2,000 removed year-to-date. Since the ash tree program began last year, more than 12,000 dead and dying trees have been proactively removed before causing damage to West Penn Power’s electrical system.
All tree trimming work is conducted by West Penn Power’s certified forestry contractors, including: Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Jaflo Inc., Lewis Tree Service Inc., Penn Line Service Inc., Townsend Tree Service and Davey Tree Expert Company. 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.
During the upcoming months, West Penn Power’s tree trimming work will take place in the following counties and communities:
• Allegheny – Bethel Park, Elizabeth Township, Floreffe, Millerstown, Upper St. Clair Township
• Butler – Butler, Hannahstown, Slippery Rock
• Centre – Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Mackeyville, Madisonburg, Rebersburg, State College
• Fayette – Gans, Hopwood, Phillips, Uniontown
• Washington – Canonsburg, Houston, Washington, Wylandville
• Westmoreland – Adamsburg, Carbon, Circleville, Greensburg, Hecla, Hunker, Latrobe, Level Green, Manor, New Kensington, Oklahoma
The vegetation management program includes inspections near the power 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. West Penn Power serves about 720,000 customers in 24 Pennsylvania counties. Follow West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Power.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company 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. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com, and follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor’s Note: Photos of tree trimming in West Penn Power’s service area are available for download on Flickr.