For Immediate Release
202-862-2680 (media hotline)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 17, 2021) – Pepco customers will continue to benefit from the company's ongoing effort to trim trees and remove vegetation along approximately 1,330 miles of aerial power lines in 2021. This work, which will continue through the year, will help maintain safe and reliable service for the company's more than 894,000 customers across Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland.
Tree trimming and vegetation management work is a critical component of Pepco's efforts to continue to provide its customers with reliable energy service, especially given the growing threats from severe weather and powerful storms driven by climate change. Trees coming in contact with electric infrastructure and wires cause about 24 percent of power outages for customers each year across the company's entire service area. Pepco's enhanced tree trimming efforts are having significant impacts on the reliability of service the company provides. Since 2011, the frequency of outages experienced by customers caused by trees and other vegetation has decreased by 76 percent and resulted in Pepco customers receiving the most reliable service ever in 2020.
Throughout the year, customers are periodically notified of upcoming vegetation management work and may notice tree-trimming crews across portions of the company's service area. As part of Pepco's robust vegetation management program, the company performs routine vegetation management on a four-year cycle in Maryland and a two-year cycle in Washington D.C., adhering to each respective Public Service Commission's specifications.
Pepco's vegetation management crews are trained in proper arboricultural techniques and practices as defined in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Standard. This standard takes into account the type and location of the tree, its relation to overhead equipment, and overall health of the tree. When pruning trees to provide clearance from overhead equipment, Pepco uses directional pruning techniques, whenever possible, to help direct tree growth away from equipment while also maintaining the health of the vegetation.
Pepco's Vegetation Management Program is part of the comprehensive preventive maintenance work the company undertakes each year to proactively review its system and address potential problems before they occur. This work includes inspecting existing infrastructure, installing new, more modern energy equipment, and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cable. The company is also installing innovative technologies to improve system reliability, such as specialized equipment that can automatically restore service or isolate damage, leading to faster restoration.
Due to this work, Pepco customers across Washington D.C. and Maryland experienced the lowest frequency of electric outages ever in 2020. Over the past ten years, energy system upgrades and new innovative technologies have reduced the frequency of electric outages by 68 percent for Pepco customers and communities. Customers experienced less than one outage, on average, over the course of the year and even when service was interrupted, crews were able to safely restore service in just 87 minutes, on average, in 2020.
Pruning trees near power lines is hazardous. Pepco asks residents not to trim trees on their property near power lines and to instead contact the company to report these findings for evaluation. Pepco tree trimming personnel are specially trained to work in close proximity to electrical conductors.
For additional information or to request tree and vegetation management services, customers can visit pepco.com/treetrimming or call 202-833-7500.
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