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Strategic $26 Million Investment by Ohio Edison for Enhanced Grid Resilience

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Michael Chen

May 15, 2024 - 16:53 pm

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Enhanced Grid Stability: Ohio Edison's $26 Million Investment in Vegetation Management

AKRON, Ohio, May 15, 2024— Ohio Edison, a key subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has announced an expansive tree-trimming and vegetation management initiative across northeast and northcentral Ohio. With an investment of $26 million, the program aims to bolster the sturdiness of the power grid against severe weather conditions. This preemptive action is anticipated to significantly diminish the incidence of tree-related power outages, particularly those that tend to strike during the tumultuous spring and summer storm seasons.

FirstEnergy’s commitment to infrastructure resilience and customer service continuity is reaffirmed by an informative video that showcases the rigorous tree-trimming process. Interested parties can view this video on FirstEnergy's YouTube channel, providing valuable insights into the precision and care taken in maintaining the power lines.

Field teams have been rigorously at work since the start of the year, meticulously trimming trees along an impressive stretch of over 600 miles of power lines within Ohio Edison's service jurisdiction. The program is on a steadfast pace to accomplish an ambitious target of an additional 4,200 miles of vegetation management by the year's end. A consistent schedule is maintained, whereby FirstEnergy’s transmission companies engage in similar maintenance tasks annually along high-voltage lines within their operational territory.

Pat Mullin, the Acting President of FirstEnergy's Ohio Operations, emphasizes the importance of the initiative: “Trees are a leading cause of power outages, and we complete tree-trimming work each year to prevent tree-related outages during severe weather. This work, paired with the vast upgrades we've made to our local power system over recent years, undoubtedly helps minimize the impact of weather-related outages to keep the power flowing safely and reliably to customers."

The tree trimming exercise follows a strategic four-year cycle and includes meticulous inspection of vegetation proximate to power lines. The program ensures that trees are pruned with consideration to their health and to maintain a safe clearance. Trees that pose a risk due to their condition or disease may need to be removed to ensure public safety and uninterrupted power supply.

Regions witnessing active vegetation management efforts this year span several counties and communities, with Ohio Edison making strides in:

  • Clark: New Carlisle, North Hampton, and Springfield
  • Columbiana: Leetonia, Lisbon, and Salem
  • Erie: Berlin Heights, Huron, and Sandusky
  • Huron: Huron and Norwalk
  • Lorain: Elyria, Grafton, Lorain, North Ridgeville, Sheffield Village, and South Amherst
  • Madison: London
  • Mahoning: Austintown, Boardman, Campbell, Lake Milton, Lowellville, Mineral Ridge, North Jackson, Struthers, and Youngstown
  • Medina: Medina
  • Ottawa: Port Clinton
  • Portage: Ravenna
  • Richland: Madison Township and Mansfield
  • Stark: Alliance, Atwater, Greentown, Hartville, Lexington, Massillon, Perry Township, and North Canton
  • Summit: Barberton, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Chapel Hill, Green, Clinton, Copley, Coventry Township, Akron, Doylestown, East Akron, Ellet, Elizabeth Park Valley, Goodyear Heights, Hudson, Kenmore, Lakemore, Middlebury, Mogadore, North Hill, Norton, Peninsula, Richfield, Silver Lake, Springfield Township, Tallmadge, and Wadsworth
  • Trumbull: Fowler, Girard, Hartford, Kinsman, McDonald, Parkman, Southington, Vienna, and Warren

To ensure transparency and awareness, Ohio Edison collaborates with municipalities to inform and align on trimming schedules. Additionally, residents living along the company's rights-of-way receive advance notification prior to the commencement of vegetation management activities.

The delicate task of vegetation management is executed by certified forestry experts who operate under the direction of the company. Trusted partners in this operation include the Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Nelson Tree Service Inc., Penn Line Service, Townsend Tree Service, and Wright Tree Service, who all contribute their specialized expertise.

An innovative approach to this maintenance work includes the deployment of helicopters fitted with aerial saws that commenced their trimming activities in March. These saws tackle foliage along transmission and distribution lines that are difficult to access, optimally navigating through environmentally sensitive terrains. Remarkably, this method can cover more territory in a single day than a ground crew might in a week, ensuring efficiency while reducing the risk to personnel who might otherwise have to ascend trees or operate bucket trucks in proximity to high-voltage equipment.

Ohio Edison serves a substantial customer base of over one million across 34 counties in Ohio. To stay connected with the latest updates and alerts, customers can follow Ohio Edison on Twitter @OhioEdison and on Facebook at facebook.com/OhioEdison. These platforms offer a direct link to essential information regarding services, outages, and community initiatives.

FirstEnergy proudly upholds the highest principles of integrity, safety, reliability, and operational excellence. Their widespread and robust electric distribution network is among the largest in the United States, servicing more than six million customers across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. Moreover, FirstEnergy’s transmission subsidiaries manage an extensive network, approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines, that interconnect the Midwest with the Mid-Atlantic regions. For more information on FirstEnergy’s services and community commitments, visit their website at firstenergycorp.com and follow them on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editorial Note: Media outlets are encouraged to use the available photos of workers engaged in the tree-trimming process near FirstEnergy power lines accessible on Flickr. Additional footage showcasing the powerful aerial saw at work can be found on YouTube, providing a visual narrative to this essential maintenance work.

FirstEnergy Corp. has been proactive in sharing resources and insight into their ongoing efforts to maintain a safe and reliable electricity supply to their vast customer base. Through strategic investment, technological innovations, and collaboration with skilled forestry services, the company strives to minimize disruptions caused by adverse weather, thereby bolstering the resilience of the power grid for a sustainable and prosperous future.

Taking a Proactive Stance Against Storm-Induced Outages

Ohio Edison, with the support of FirstEnergy Corp., has taken a formidable initiative to preemptively secure the power grid against the unpredictable forces of Mother Nature. The comprehensive and meticulously organized vegetation management effort not only exemplifies the company's commitment to operational excellence but also shines a light on the priority placed on customer service and community safety.

It is the delicate balance between technological evolution and ecological sensitivity that lies at the core of Ohio Edison's approach. Adapting to the diverse demands of each locality, the company operates in harmony with nature while maintaining the integrity of the power grid infrastructure. This endeavour goes beyond the sheer mechanics of tree trimming; it is about ensuring that the essence of reliable and continuous electric service is not compromised by the elements or time.

A Pledge to Safety and Community Well-being

In keeping with a tradition of operational safety and public well-being, Ohio Edison's extensive measures underscore an unwavering stance on proactiveness—it is not just about reacting to disruptions, but rather preventing them wherever possible. Through the comprehensive maintenance plan and community engagement, they forge a partnership with nature rather than a rivalry, choosing a path that promotes growth, health, and stability.

Overall, Ohio Edison and FirstEnergy Corp. are shaping the future of electrical service with a customer-centric approach that unites technology, sustainability, and safety. As they continue embarking on such significant endeavors, they set a benchmark for utilities everywhere in how to gracefully handle the inevitable touch points between the natural world and human innovation.

Conclusion

FirstEnergy Corp., through its subsidiary Ohio Edison, once again demonstrates leadership in the utilities sector by investing heavily in vegetation management. The ongoing tree-trimming program is not only a measure of preventive maintenance but also a reflection of the corporation’s sense of social responsibility towards the communities it serves. With a steadfast commitment to reliability and safety, the $26 million initiative stands as a beacon of proactive planning and customer-minded action—truly a testament to their tagline, "keeping the power flowing."

This news article was brought to you in connection with FirstEnergy Corp.

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