Tuesday, May 28, 2024

JCP&L Enhances Service Reliability Through Extensive Tree Trimming Initiative

In an ambitious move to fortify electric service reliability across New Jersey, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has embarked on a vast tree-trimming project. Spanning over 3,400 miles of power lines within its 13-county jurisdiction, this initiative aims to minimize tree-related disruptions, particularly during adverse weather conditions.

JCP&L is investing $32.5 million this year in a proactive vegetation management strategy designed to improve service consistency and safety for its customers. This annual investment will increase by $1.5 million each year under a recent agreement with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), with an additional $2.5 million allocated annually for the next five years to extend tree-trimming efforts along critical circuits identified through historical outage analysis.

Jim Fakult, President of JCP&L, highlighted the significance of the program, stating, “Falling trees and branches are the leading cause of power outages in our region. Our comprehensive tree-trimming operations are crucial for ensuring continuous, safe, and economical electric service throughout the year, especially as we approach the storm-prone summer months.”

The tree-trimming operations, completed over a four-year cycle, are meticulously carried out by certified forestry experts under JCP&L’s guidance. These experts not only focus on maintaining safety clearances around power lines but also on preserving the natural health of the trees involved.

Since the beginning of the year, contractors have successfully trimmed over 638 miles of power lines, with plans to reach a total of 3,419 miles by year’s end. Despite these efforts, JCP&L notes that 86% of last year’s tree-related outages were caused by trees outside their controlled areas. The company encourages the public to report potentially hazardous trees via their website.

Over the next two months, tree trimming will occur in multiple municipalities across counties including Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union. This initiative also includes a focused campaign to remove nearly 53,000 deteriorated ash trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, primarily in northern New Jersey, enhancing the safety and aesthetic of local communities.

JCP&L is committed to working closely with municipalities and informing residents affected by the tree trimming schedules. Educational efforts by JCP&L’s foresters also aim to encourage residents to maintain trees on their properties to further reduce outage risks.

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