WILLIAMSPORT, Md., April 14, 2017 -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its service area in western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance system reliability.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed more than 600 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Potomac Edison area as part of the company's approximately $39 million vegetation management program for 2017, with an additional 2,250 miles expected to be completed by year end. The work is done to help maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.
The 2017 budgeted amount includes about $750,000 to continue a special program in the Maryland service area to remove dead and dying ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer, targeting approximately 5,000 trees. Dead and damaged ash trees near power lines pose a growing risk to the company's electrical infrastructure.
"The tree trimming we have done over the last five years has helped cut by nearly half the number of outages from trees and limbs falling into our lines and interrupting electrical service to our Potomac Edison customers," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland Operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "Between 2011 and 2016, our trimming program helped reduce both the number of tree-related outages by about 46 percent and the number of Potomac Edison customers impacted by a tree-related service interruption by 39 percent. We expect the new program targeting damaged ash trees for removal will further enhance service reliability for our customers."
The vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including: Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Lewis Tree, N.G. Gilbert, Nelson Tree Service, Trees Inc. and Wright Tree Service.
As part of its notification process, Potomac Edison 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, Potomac Edison will be conducting tree trimming work in the following counties and communities:
- Allegany – Corriganville, Cresaptown, Cumberland, Frostburg, Oldtown
- Berkeley (WV) – Falling Waters, Hedgesville, Inwood, Martinsburg
- Carroll – Union Bridge
- Frederick – Emmitsburg, Frederick, Thurmont, Walkersville, Woodsboro
- Garrett – Accident, Jennings, Thayerville
- Hampshire (WV) – Augusta, Capon Bridge, Petersburg, Romney
- Hardy (WV) – Baker, Moorefield
- Jefferson (WV) – Leetown, Millville, Summit Point
- Mineral (WV) – Fort Ashby, Short Gap
- Montgomery – Damascus, Germantown, Poolesville
- Morgan (WV) –Green Spring, Paw Paw
- Washington – Boonsboro, Hagerstown, Huyetts, Lappans, Leitersburg, Mt. Aetna, Myersville, Pinesburg
Tree trimming is done on a five-year cycle in Maryland and West Virginia. Vegetation is inspected and trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree, while also maintaining safety near electric facilities. In some cases, trees that are considered to present a danger or are diseased may be removed.
Potomac Edison serves about 257,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 137,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
FirstEnergy is 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. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
CONTACT: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650