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FirstEnergy's 2017 Tree Trimming Program Underway in Penelec Service Area

READING, Pa., April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (FE) continues to conduct tree trimming work in communities across the Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) service area in Pennsylvania as part of its ongoing efforts to help maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and help protect against tree-related outages.

Since the beginning of the year, contractors have trimmed nearly 550 miles of distribution and transmission lines in the Penelec area as part of the company's nearly $17 million vegetation management program for 2017, with an additional 3,650 miles expected to be completed by year end. 

The tree trimming work in 2017 includes about $4.4 million to continue a special five-year program that was implemented in 2015 to remove dead and dying ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer before they can cause damage to Penelec's electrical system.  The company expects to proactively remove approximately 41,500 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," said Scott Wyman, regional president, Penelec.  "This work pays dividends year-round in fewer service disruptions, particularly during severe storms that cause tremendous damage to trees, which then can damage our equipment."

The vegetation management work is conducted by qualified contractors, including Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, PennLine Tree Service, Sidelines, Townsend 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: Birmingham, Blairsville, Bradford, Brockway, Brookville, Central City, Dubois, Edinboro, Emlenton, Erie, Franklin Forks, Harborcreek, Hollidaysburg, Jennerstown, Johnstown, Laporte, Mansfield, Martinsburg, Monroeton, Northeast, Philipsburg, Portage, Saxton, Seward, Shippensburg, Stoystown, Titusville, Towanda, Union City, Warren and Westmont.

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 Pennsylvania counties.  Follow Penelec on Twitter @Penelec and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PenelecElectric.

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.

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