FAIRMONT, W.Va Mon Power continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across its service area in West Virginia as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance service reliability.
The 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 numerous storms experienced this past winter.
This year, tree contractors will be trimming, clearing, and controlling the vegetation on more than 5,100 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Mon Power area as part of the company's approximately $71 million vegetation management program for 2019.
This year marks the fifth year of an enhanced right of way clearing program that focuses on trimming and removing trees near distribution lines in rural areas and along transmission lines to enhance service reliability. The enhanced program involves trimming and removing trees ground to sky, which helps reduce the risk of overhanging limbs getting into electrical equipment and causing outages.
Mon Power's tree program also includes about $2 million to proactively remove more than 7,000 deteriorated ash trees killed or damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer along larger distribution lines and lines located near electric substations.
"Over the past four years, our enhanced vegetation management program has resulted in fewer tree-related outages," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia Operations, of which Mon Power is a subsidiary. "Also, as a result of the program, our customers are experiencing about a 35 percent reduction in the duration of tree-related outages the year after we perform work in their area."
Mon Power will conduct tree trimming and clearing of rights of way in or near the following are counties and communities before the end of the year:
Wood County: Pettyville, Mineral Wells, Slate
Pleasants County: Belmont, Eureka, Schultz, St. Marys
Ritchie County: Auburn, Berea, Harrisville, Pennsboro, Pullman
Wirt County: Brohard, Creston, Elizabeth, Palestine
As part of program, vegetation on electric rights of way has been maintained on a five-year cycle in the Mon Power area. Going forward, the rights of way will be maintained on a four-year cycle to further improve reliability for customers.
Forestry crews use hand-operated tools, saws, mowers, aerial helicopter saws and EPA-approved herbicide applications to trim trees and control vegetation along Mon Power's distribution and transmission lines.
Clearing incompatible vegetation under power lines results in easier access for company personnel to inspect and maintain lines and make repairs sooner if an outage occurs.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.