New tree and vegetation management standards expected to further reduce potential for one of the major causes of electric outages
BALTIMORE, May 9, 2012 – Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) today announced plans to further invest in electric reliability for its customers by enhancing its already robust Tree and Vegetation Management Program <> through the application of anticipated new standards mandated by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). These standards, a component of the PSC’s Service Quality and Reliability Regulations, also known as Rule Making 43 (RM 43), are required by the 2011 Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act and are expected to go into effect no later than this summer.
BGE, along with other Maryland utilities and key stakeholders, has been working with the PSC for more than a year in the development of these new regulations, which are intended to enhance electric reliability through a number of methods, including the increased management of trees and other vegetation near power lines.
“As we witnessed during Hurricane Irene, trees and tree limbs coming into contact with our overhead power lines can cause severe damage to our system and result in widespread electric outages,” said Jeannette M. Mills, chief customer officer, BGE. “As we increase trimming and tree removal along our more than 10,500 miles of overhead power lines, our customers will experience even safer and more reliable electric service, which has always been our number one commitment.”
Because of the thorough nature of BGE’s existing Tree and Vegetation Management Program, most of the company’s current practices will remain the same. However, BGE will be required to conduct more comprehensive tree and vegetation management along overhead power lines located near the company’s electrical substations, critical facilities that manage the delivery of power from generating plants to customer homes, businesses and neighborhoods. Also, trees that BGE may have simply trimmed in the past, now may be removed to help ensure improved reliability and meet the objective of these new standards.
“We know that some of our customers will notice a change, not only in their reliability, but also in the landscape,” said Mills. “That’s why we’re committed to working with our customers and other stakeholders throughout this process to understand and, if possible, address any concerns they may have as we strive to achieve the right balance between reliable electric service and a sustained, green environment. It’s important to remember that the right type of trees and distribution power lines can coexist. Through our Right Tree, Right Place Program, we’ve helped customers and communities throughout our service area plant thousands of trees and shrubs that are compatible with power lines.”
BGE is beginning to apply the new tree and vegetation management standards in Harford County and will extend these efforts to the rest of its service territory when the regulations become final. As always, all affected customers will be notified in advance of any scheduled work expected to take place on their property and will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns with BGE’s foresters and professional, licensed contractors.
For more information about BGE’s Tree and Vegetation Management and Right Tree, Right Place programs, as well as the company’s Tree and Vegetation Management Schedule.
BGE, headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, delivering power to more than 1.2 million electric customers and more than 650,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. The company’s approximately 3,400 employees are committed to the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electricity, as well as enhanced energy management, conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider with approximately $33 billion in annual revenues. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.