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The Illuminating Company Invests $15.5 Million in Tree Trimming Efforts to Reinforce Electric System During Severe Weather

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Work includes trimming along nearly 2,400 miles of power lines in 2021

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio, April 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Illuminating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is conducting tree trimming and other vegetation management work in communities across its northeast Ohio service area as part of its ongoing efforts to help enhance electric service reliability. This year's $15.5 million tree-trimming program will help keep power flowing to customers around the clock by preventing tree-related outages, such as those that can occur during the spring and summer storm season.

The Illuminating Company Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)
The Illuminating Company Logo (PRNewsfoto/FirstEnergy Corp.)

On the ground, contractors have trimmed trees along nearly 600 miles of power lines across The Illuminating Company's service area since the beginning of the year. The company's program remains on track to complete an additional 1,800 miles of tree-trimming work by the end of the year. As part of this process, helicopter aerial saws will be used in April to trim trees along hard-to-access transmission corridors in the greater Cleveland area.

"Proactive tree-trimming work helps reduce the number of tree-related outages we could experience during severe weather events," said Mark Jones, regional president of The Illuminating Company. "Our infrastructure is designed to operate safely and reliably in all types of weather conditions, and the biggest threats to our electric system during severe weather are trees and branches falling into our equipment."

Tree trimming is done on a four-year cycle. The work includes inspecting vegetation near power lines to ensure trees are pruned to preserve the health of the tree, while also maintaining safe clearances. Trees that present a danger or are diseased may be removed.

This year, the work is being conducted in the following counties and communities:

  • AshtabulaAshtabula Township, Morgan Township, Orwell Township, Pierpont Township, Rome Township and Windsor

  • CuyahogaBay Village, Beachwood, Berea, Brook Park, Brooklyn, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland, East Cleveland, Eastlake, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted, North Royalton, Olmsted Falls, Parma, Parma Heights, Pepper Pike, Rocky River, Shaker Heights, Solon and Westlake

  • GeaugaAuburn Township, Bainbridge, Burton Township, Chester Township, Middlefield Township, Munson Township and Newbury Township

  • LakeMentor, Painesville Township and Willoughby

As part of its notification process, The Illuminating Company 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.

The Illuminating Company's vegetation management work is conducted by certified forestry experts under the company's direction, including Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Penn Line Services and Townsend Tree Service.

In the air, helicopters equipped with aerial saws will trim trees and maintain clearances along hard-to-access transmission and distribution corridors throughout The Illuminating Company's service area. The aerial saw is typically deployed along transmission and distribution lines in areas that may be environmentally sensitive or inaccessible to bucket trucks and other vehicles. This method typically covers more area in a day than a ground crew might complete in a week. The saw also eliminates the risk of injury to workers using bucket trucks or climbing trees to cut limbs near high voltage equipment.

The Illuminating Company has contracted with Aerial Solutions, which owns and operates the helicopter and saw, to perform the work.

The Illuminating Company serves more than 750,000 customers across Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. Follow The Illuminating Company on Twitter @IlluminatingCo and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IlluminatingCo.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, 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. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.

Editor's Note: Photos of workers trimming trees near FirstEnergy power lines are available for download on Flickr. A video explaining and demonstrating tree-trimming work can be found on FirstEnergy's YouTube channel.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.