West Penn Power is spending $47 million this year to trim trees to reduce power outages

West Penn Power Co. plans to spend about $47 million to trim trees that could impact power lines and other vegetation control measures in Allegheny, Armstrong, Fayette, Westmoreland and 14 other counties across the country. ‘State.

“We are trimming and removing trees to help minimize power outages, especially during severe weather,” said Todd Meyers, spokesman for Greensburg-based West Penn Power. Clean rights-of-way also helps the utility access repairs for storm-damaged equipment, like what happened this week, Meyers said.

Tuesday night’s inclement weather interrupted power to about 40,000 West Penn customers in the area.

Contractors trimmed trees along 1,000 miles of power lines in West Penn’s service territory, including Allegheny, Armstrong and Westmoreland counties. Efforts remain on track to complete an additional 3,900 miles of work by the end of 2022, the company said. West Penn said it notifies municipalities that live along the right-of-way when it is in those communities.

“Work makes the difference. On days without severe weather, tree-related outages interrupted electrical service for 17% fewer West Penn customers in 2021 than in 2020,” said Scott Wyman, president of operations for FirstEnergy in Pennsylvania, which includes West Penn. Penn Power.

Spending on vegetation management – ​​which includes tree removal, herbicide application and the use of overhead saws along transmission and distribution lines – has been steady in recent years. , West Penn Power allocating $43 million in 2019, $46 million in 2020; and $5 million last year, Meyers said.

Any trees that pose a danger or are diseased can also be felled, the company said. Trees are usually pruned so branches don’t come within 15 feet of wires, Meyers said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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