Proper tree care reduces power outages
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Proper tree care reduces power outages 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
February 3, 2010
 
Proper tree care reduces power outages
DNR encourages utilities to become part of the Tree Line USA Program

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) in recognizing utility companies who commit to healthy tree care and maintenance, tree worker training programs, and community tree planting.

“Planting the right trees in the right place can save utilities a lot of money,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We want to encourage proper pruning and healthier trees to help decrease tree-related power outages.”

ADF’s Tree Line USA Program provides many benefits to companies and to the communities who are served.

In cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, ADF recognizes public and private utilities that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America's urban and community forests. The program seeks to achieve dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas. This is accomplished through the promotion of utility arboriculture and public education using three core standards:

  • Quality Tree Care - The utility follows industry standards for pruning, planting, removals, and trenching and tunneling near trees.
  • Annual Worker training - The utility ensures that its employees and contract workers are trained in best practices.
  • Tree Planting and Public Education - The utility sponsors and participates in a tree planting and public education program designed to expand canopy and educate customers about the proper tree planting, placement, and pruning, including participation in community Arbor Day celebrations.

Utility companies that achieve these standards realize direct benefits through:

  • Lower line clearance costs resulting from proper pruning
  • Improved rights-of-way management as a result of "right tree, right place" plantings
  • Increased public exposure by meeting Tree Line USA requirements, resulting in community tree planting and public education
  • Lower peak energy demand through increased canopy and better placement of trees
  • Increased reliability of service because properly pruned and maintained trees with healthy root systems will mean less decay and structural weakness, and fewer downed lines during storms
  • Collaborative urban forest management opportunities between the utility and other groups that impact community trees
    More trees will help absorb carbon dioxide produced by power plants that burn fossil fuels

Communities served by Tree Line utilities benefit by seeing:

  • Healthier and more abundant community forests
  • Reduced tree mortality resulting from proper pruning and trenching/tunneling practices
  • Increased reliability of service because properly pruned and maintained trees result in fewer downed lines during storms
  • Reduced energy costs to consumers through strategically planted trees for energy conservation and a broader urban forest canopy
  • Reduced heat island effect as a result of more shaded pavement

Washington and ADF currently recognizes nine Tree Line USA utilities: Benton County PUD, Clark County PUD, Chelan County PUD #1, Pacificorp, Peninsula Light and Power, Puget Sound Energy, Richland Energy Services, Snohomish County PUD, and Tacoma Power.

Encourage utilities to become part of the Tree Line USA Program. For more information, log on to http://www.arborday.org/programs/treeLineUSA/index.cfm or call the DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program for assistance: 1-800-523-8733.

Urban and Community Forestry
The DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program, guided by the Washington Community Forestry Council, works to educate citizens and decision-makers about the economic, environmental, psychological, and aesthetic benefits of trees. Program staff assist local governments, citizen groups and volunteers with planting and sustaining healthy trees and vegetation where Washington residents live and work.

Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, janet.pearce@dnr.wa.gov

 

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