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Tree program protects lines

If you happen to see work crews hanging around local power lines, or helicopters flying overhead our communities with strange equipment hanging below in the coming months, it’s nothing to fear.

Mon Power, which provides electricity to much of the Northern Panhandle, has begun its annual tree-trimming program, working with certified forestry experts with a plan to clear vegetation from close to 5,200 miles of power lines in its service area.

In recent years, many of our residents have experienced outages as a result of tree limbs or other materials falling on power lines. Thousands of us experienced multiple days without power this past winter as the system was affected by heavy snow and ice.

While this yearly maintenance effort may not prevent every outage, it absolutely will help to cut down on the possibility of additional damage to the system.

According to Mon Power, their crews have worked to clear vegetation from along more than 31,000 miles of power lines since April 2014. This includes trimming more than 3.7 million trees in 34 counties. The company says these efforts have cut down on outage minutes by more than 40 percent as a result.A

In addition to pruning vegetation away from power lines, if crews find trees which are diseased, they work to remove them, thus providing a healthier environment for local plants and wildlife. This includes ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer.

This program is probably not one many of us think about, but we’re all grateful to know it’s available as a way to provide a stable power supply for our region.

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