Penelec’s 2019 Tree Trimming Program underway

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.

This work helps keep power flowing to customers around the clock by preventing tree-related outages.

Maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment can help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, especially those associated with severe weather such as the storms experienced this past winter.

Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed about 1,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Penelec area as part of the company’s $35.5 million vegetation management program for 2019, with an additional 3,400 miles expected to be completed by year-end.

The tree trimming work in 2019 includes about $5 million to continue a special five-year program that was implemented in 2015 to remove dead and dying ash trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer before they can cause damage to Penelec’s electrical system. The company expects to proactively remove approximately 45,000 affected ash trees by the end of the year. Over five years, the ash tree removal program will cover about 18,000 miles of power line rights-of-way in the Penelec service area, with the expected removal of more than 200,000 affected ash trees.

“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, recently-named regional president, Penelec. “Our tree trimming is making a positive difference in keeping the lights on for our customers. In 2018, we experienced 10 percent fewer tree-related customer interruptions than in the previous year.”

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

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. During the next several months, Penelec will be conducting tree trimming along transmission and distribution circuits in the following locations: Albion, Altoona, Bedford, Blairsville, Brooklyn, Brookville, Dubois, Dry Run, Dushore, East Hickory, Erie, Fannetsburg, Franklin, Friedens, Geistown, Laceyville, Lewis Run, Luthersburg, Johnstown, Knox, Lewistown, Mahaffey, McKean, Meadville, Milroy, Nickolson, Oil City, Platea, Roading Springs, Shawville, Somerset, Tionesta, Titusville, Towanda, Tunkhannock, Union City, Waverly, Williamsburg, Warren, and Youngsville.

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. Penelec serves approximately 600,000 customers in 31 PA counties, including Warren. For information, visit www.firstenergycorp.com.

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