Mon Power Using Aerial Saws to Trim Trees in Remote AreasWork includes trimming along more than 400 miles of high-voltage power lines
FAIRMONT, W.Va., July 19, 2022 -- Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is using helicopters equipped with aerial saws to trim trees and maintain electrical clearances along 23 difficult-to-access transmission line corridors in West Virginia. The work began in late May and is expected to conclude by September.
This novel and highly efficient method of tree trimming helps Mon Power maintain proper clearances around high-voltage transmission lines and electrical equipment, which can reduce the frequency and duration of tree-related power outages, especially those associated with severe weather.
"Our high-voltage transmission lines are vital to our system, and proactive trimming near this important electrical equipment will help to reduce service interruptions and keep power flowing to our customers," said Jim Myers, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia operations.
The helicopters trimming trees along the transmission lines are MD 500s owned and operated by Aerial Solutions. Work will be conducted only as weather conditions permit. The aerial saws will trim trees along 445 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Braxton, Brooke, Doddridge, Grant, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Ritchie, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur and Wood counties.
Suspended on an adjustable 90-foot boom beneath a helicopter and equipped with multiple 24-inch rotary blades, the aerial saw is typically deployed along transmission lines in areas that are environmentally sensitive or inaccessible to bucket trucks and other vehicles. This fast, safe and efficient method of trimming 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 saw cleanly cuts tree limbs 8 to 10 inches in diameter, which fall straight to the ground propelled by air blasts from the helicopter rotors. Ground crews move limbs that have fallen onto roadways, yards, agricultural fields or in streams into adjacent wooded areas. The ground crew will also flag and stop motorists along roads if the saw is working nearby.
The helicopter flies above and alongside transmission lines and may circle around to perform additional trimming. The pilot communicates with local airport personnel whenever the helicopter is operating within their air space.
Mon Power will clear vegetation along approximately 5,700 miles of distribution and transmission power lines in its West Virginia service area this year as part of its vegetation management program.
Trimming trees around power lines is critical to providing reliable electric service for Mon Power customers. In the company's 34-county service territory, total customer outage minutes, including during major storm events, have dropped by more than 40% since the first full year of its existing tree-trimming program in 2015.
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 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
News Media Contact: Will Boye, (301) 790-6420; Investor Relations Contact: Irene Prezelj, (303) 384-3859