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PE HOSTS TREE SYMPOSIUM IN BUCKS COUNTY; DETAILS NEW TREE TRIMMING PRACTICES

 PE HOSTS TREE SYMPOSIUM IN BUCKS COUNTY;
 DETAILS NEW TREE TRIMMING PRACTICES
 PHILADELPHIA, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- About 60 Bucks County municipal officials and community activists attended a Philadelphia Electric Company (NYSE: PE) tree symposium recently where the company explained the importance of its new tree trimming practices.
 The program, which was held at Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland, also featured a presentation by Julianne T. Schieffer, of the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service. Schieffer illustrated trends in "urban forestry in the '90s."
 Schieffer stressed that Bucks County should be considered an urban area, and proper decisions must be made for tree planting and tree care.
 "Urban forestry is planting trees in the right places to receive the most benefit for the longest time," Shieffer said. "When that doesn't happen, a tree can bring safety and liability concerns."
 David DeCampli, PE electric operations manager for Bucks County, said PE struggles with balancing the needs for service reliability, customer satisfaction, and costs. He said it was critical for the company to obtain improved clearance around utility power lines for increased service reliability. More aggressive attempts to gain line clearance, however, has caused tremendous public concern for trees.
 Stew Leonard, PE's Bucks County division forester, said 35 percent of power outages during 1991 -- many of which could have been prevented or reduced in duration -- were attributable to trees.
 Leonard said PE has 2,450 miles of utility lines serving 187,000 electric customers in Bucks County, and the company must maintain more than 323,000 trees, mostly street trees, that are capable of contacting power lines in the county. Most street trees are tall-growing and incompatible with power lines, he said.
 PE said it hopes to trim all of those trees during the next three years. A substantial reduction in tree-related electric service interruptions will result, Leonard said.
 Leonard added PE increased its professional forestry staff in each operating division and significantly expanded training for its contractor tree-trimming crews. "PE committed to a professional vegetation management program dedicated to customer satisfaction," he said.
 Under this program, trees that threaten the electric system will be trimmed, and in some cases removed with the approval of property owners. PE utilizes only accepted trimming procedures, known as "natural target pruning" with the amount of trimming depending on the tree species.
 PE also is working with various municipalities on a limited tree replacement program. All replacement trees are compatible with overhead electric lines.
 The company said new methods of trimming will be followed consistently throughout the area. The amount of trimming will vary depending on the tree species.
 To minimize adverse public concern over tree trimming, Leonard said PE increased its communication with property owners, municipalities and community groups. He said PE foresters are available as consultants on such things as planting for energy efficiency, municipal shade tree ordinances and tree care.
 "We understand the aesthetic value and other benefits provided by trees, and we are truly concerned with the health and well-being of your trees," he said. "The question is not whether to trim or not, but how to do the work correctly."
 Leonard strongly encouraged property owners and developers to work with PE when planning new tree planting. PE has developed unique computer software, called "Plant Right," which assures the proper planting of suitable tree species. Use of the computer program is available to anyone, he said.
 "Proper planting will reduce required trimming by PE, minimizing complaints, and result in a healthier tree cover for all to enjoy in the end," Leonard said.
 Across the PE system, an estimated 1.25 million trees are located along distribution rights-of-way. The company plans to spend $16 million in 1992 and nearly equal amounts in the next two years to survey and trim trees along the rights-of-way. Areas targeted for tree trimming are scheduled based upon a three-year study of service reliability, past trimming history and maintenance requests on each circuit.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/30/92
 /Editors: Photos available: Stew Leonard, Bucks County division forester for PE, and Julianne T. Schieffer, of the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service, with a Brandywine Crabapple, which was awarded as a door prize to New Britain Township at the PE tree symposium; and Stew Leonard answering questions about PE tree trimming practices at a municipal tree symposium held recently./
 /CONTACT: Michael Wood of Philadelphia Electric, 215-841-4125/
 (PE) CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU: PDT


LJ -- PH006 -- 2753 03/30/92 09:44 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 30, 1992
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