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The Illuminating Company Enhances Grid Stability With $19.7M Boost


Leo Gonzalez

May 15, 2024 - 16:53 pm


The Illuminating Company Reinforces the Northeast Ohio Power Grid with a $19.7 Million Investment

Amidst the unpredictable tumult brought on by severe weather, The Illuminating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has committed a substantial investment totaling $19.7 million to fortify the power grid across its northeast Ohio service domain. The spearhead of these efforts comes in the form of extensive tree trimming and vegetation management endeavors, which are pivotal in augmenting the reliability of electricity service. This substantial tree-trimming initiative is poised to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electrical power to customers by averting tree-induced outages, particularly those exacerbated by the virulent spring and summer storm season.

An informative video detailing the intricacies of the tree-trimming operations is accessible on the FirstEnergy YouTube channel, offering a visual exploration of the process and the professionals at work.

On site, dedicated contractors have tirelessly pruned vegetation along an expanse of nearly 100 miles of power lines within the greater Cleveland locale since the commencement of the year. Poised to reach a remarkable milestone, The Illuminating Company anticipates the completion of an additional stretch of 1,750 miles by the year's end. This metric falls in alignment with the consistent annual endeavor undertaken by FirstEnergy's transmission companies to meticulously maintain high-voltage power lines throughout the organization’s extensive service territories.

Pat Mullin, the Acting President of FirstEnergy's Ohio Operations, has emphatically highlighted the significance of such proactive measures. "Trees represent a principal contributor to power disruptions, and thus, we systematically undertake preemptive tree-trimming work each and every year. Such initiatives are instrumental in forestalling tree-related outages amidst adverse weather conditions. Coupling this work with the extensive enhancements recently carried out across our local power infrastructure undeniably supports the minimization of weather-related service interruptions. This ensures a continuous, safe, and dependable flow of electricity to our valued customers," Mullin asserts.

The trimming protocol follows a rigorous four-year cycle, during which vegetation in proximity to power lines undergoes thorough inspection. The objective is twofold: to ensure that trees are pruned in a manner that maintains their vitality while also safeguarding critical clearances. Trees that pose an imminent risk or those that are suffering from disease are slated for removal.

For the year ahead, an array of counties and their respective communities have been earmarked to benefit from these maintenance efforts. In Ashtabula County, Ashtabula Township, Geneva Township, and Harpersfield Township are slated for service. Cuyahoga County will see this activity unfold in cities like Bedford, Bay Village, and up to another twenty localities, inclusive of the sprawling Cleveland metro area itself. Geauga County's Claridon Township and five other townships will be receiving attention. Lake County's communities, spanning from Eastlake to Willoughby, are part of the vegetation management plan. Lastly, Lorain County's Avon Lake will also behold the provision of these critical services.

In the realm of outreach and transparency, The Illuminating Company diligently engages with city managers to notify them of forthcoming tree-trimming schedules. Moreover, customers whose properties border the company's right-of-way corridors are informed in advance about impending vegetation management work.

The custodians of The Illuminating Company's vegetation management program are certified forestry experts, whose operations are steered by the company's rigorous standards. Esteemed organizations such as Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Davey Tree Expert Company, Penn Line Services, and Townsend Tree Service are at the forefront of executing these instrumental initiatives.

Elevating the scope of vegetation management to the skies, helicopters outfitted with aerial saws have been deployed since March. They take to the air to maintain necessary clearances along transmission and distribution corridors that are otherwise challenging to reach on foot. Geographical intricacies such as environmentally sensitive zones or areas where terrain impedes the use of conventional vehicles necessitate this approach. This airborne method demonstrates an impressive efficiency, covering more ground in a single day than what a ground crew might handle in a week. Beyond efficiency, utilizing aerial saws drastically diminishes the risk of injury to personnel that would otherwise be employing bucket trucks or scaling trees to sever limbs in the vicinity of high-voltage infrastructure.

The Illuminating Company serves as the beacon of power for an expansive customer base that exceeds 750,000 across the Ohio counties of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain. Community members can follow The Illuminating Company on social media platforms, including Twitter under the handle @IlluminatingCo and on Facebook at

As a beacon of corporate fidelity, FirstEnergy stands firm in its core values of integrity, safety, reliability, and operational excellence. It is one of the nation's preeminent investor-owned electric systems, offering service to over six million customers dispersed across the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries are responsible for an approximate 24,000 miles of transmission lines, serving as vital conduits between the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy's corporate developments and updates at their official website and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Additional Resources for Media and Public Insights

To enrich public knowledge and provide more comprehensive visuals, The Illuminating Company and FirstEnergy Corp. have made available photos illustrating the diligent work of crews trimming trees proximate to power lines. These images can be downloaded from the Flickr platform. Additionally, compelling B-roll footage showcasing the aerial saw in action is available for viewing on YouTube, providing a captivating glimpse into this high-altitude aspect of vegetation management. These resources offer an unprecedented look at the lengths to which these companies go to ensure the integrity and dependability of the electrical grid.

In finality, this aggrandized initiative stands not just as a testament to the foresight and resolve of The Illuminating Company but also as a monument to the collaborative spirit fostered within the communities it serves. Through intricate planning and execution, bolstered communication, and the deployment of groundbreaking technologies, the company aims higher than mere service provision; it strives for the apex of operational excellence and communal well-being.