MORRISTOWN, N.J., June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is conducting tree trimming work along nearly 4,900 miles of power lines across its 13-county service territory as part of its annual vegetation management program. This work helps keep power flowing to customers around the clock by preventing tree-related outages.
JCP&L's 2020 tree trimming work includes 900 miles of enhanced vegetation management as part of JCP&L Reliability Plus, which provides additional investments to address tree damage and trimming in targeted areas of the system impacted by severe weather events. Together, the 2020 vegetation management plan and JCP&L Reliability Plus represent a $57 million commitment to help enhance electric service reliability and prepare for summer storms and an Atlantic hurricane season that is predicted to be more severe than normal.
Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,800 circuit miles of electric lines in the JCP&L service area. JCP&L expects to complete an additional 3,100 miles of work by the end of this year.
"Tree trimming remains vitally important to our efforts to enhance reliability for customers by reducing the frequency and duration of power outages," said Alex Patton, JCP&L vice president of Operations. "Over the past decade, this important work has led to a 25% decrease in tree-related outages, so it's important that we continue to implement a strong tree trimming program."
Conducted by certified forestry contractors under the company's direction, tree trimming is done on a four-year cycle as part of JCP&L's ongoing vegetation management program. 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 proper clearances around electrical equipment. Trees that present a danger or are diseased may also be removed.
This year's program also continues to focus on identifying and proactively removing deteriorated ash trees near electric distribution lines, primarily in JCP&L's northern service territory, that have been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle that originated in Asia. First confirmed in the U.S. in 2002, the infestation has spread to New Jersey and more than 35 states. More than 1,900 dead and dying ash trees have been removed this year and more than 17,500 since the initiative began in New Jersey in 2017.
JCP&L works with municipalities to 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 further decrease tree-related outages, JCP&L's foresters also are working to educate residents who live near company equipment about the importance of properly maintaining the trees on their own property.
As part of the 2020 tree trimming program, forestry contractors are performing tree work in municipalities in the following counties in June:
JCP&L, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.
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 approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of workers using bucket trucks to trim trees near FirstEnergy power lines are available for download on Flickr. A video explaining FirstEnergy's vegetation management techniques can also be found on YouTube.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.