BGe is committed to continually investing in the measures that provide you safe and reliable electric service. We understand that power outages – especially extended outages, can severely disrupt our customers’ lives. That’s why we strive to maintain reliable electric service through various methods, including the application of a robust tree and vegetation management program.
During severe thunderstorms, the vast majority of the outages are caused by tree limbs, or in many cases, entire trees, coming into contact with our power lines. Following such storms, BGE employees and contractors canvass our electric delivery system, evaluating and, when necessary, addressing trees that have been weakened by the storms.
To enhance reliability, BGE increased its spending on vegetation management and tree trimming during the past few years from $23.5 million in 2007 to nearly $35 million in 2012 and include efforts to trim and remove trees along our more than 10,500 miles of overhead power lines. Now, BGE is enhancing our tree and vegetation management orogram as we work to implement requirements mandated by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC).
For more than a year, BGE, Maryland’s other utilities and other key stakeholders worked with the PSC as it developed regulations as required by the 2011 Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act. These regulations, called RM 43, went into effect on May 28, 2012 and include standards intended to enhance electric reliability through a number of methods, including the increased management of trees and vegetation near power lines.
While many of BGE’s tree and vegetation management practices will remain the same, BGE may need to prune or remove trees that we have previously allowed to coexist with distribution power lines. Additionally, BGE will conduct more comprehensive tree and vegetation management along overhead lines located close to the company’s electrical substations – critical facilities that manage the delivery of power from generating plants to customer homes and neighborhoods.
We know that these changes will be evident to our customers and are committed to partnering with them throughout this process to address concerns and answer questions. We look forward to providing customers with safer and even more reliable electric service, as we know that customers experience up to 40 percent fewer tree-related outages in areas that have been recently trimmed 90 to 95 percent of the time. In severe storm conditions, such as a hurricane, we know customers experience up to 20 percent fewer tree-related outages.
To learn more about our tree and vegetation management program, please visit www.bge.com/treecare. While there, customers can learn more about our pruning standards and Right Tree, Right Place Program, as well as take advantage of our interactive map, which depicts our planned schedule for tree and vegetation management over the next several months.
Thank you again for your patience and cooperation.
Jeannette M. Mills
Chief Customer Officer
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company