Franklin Township supervisors are alerting township residents that they may see trees cut down on their property by PPL workers this summer to keep tree-related power outages to a minimum.

Supervisors received a letter from PPL nothing that two years ago PPL Electric Utilities had started a program that involves clearing high-voltage transmission right-of-ways across their service territory.

While this work is a significant change from past maintenance practices, PPL notified the supervisors that the are informing elected officials so they could be prepared for contacts from the public.

PPL operates 1.350 miles of transmission facilities as part of the nation's bulk electric system. The maintenance of these right-of-ways and higher voltage power lines falls under the jurisdiction of federal regulators and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the enforcement arm for national reliability standards established after the Northeast blackout in 2003.

The massive blackout was caused in part by trees that came into contact with a transmission line. Since the Bulk Electric System is a vital part of the national security and economic health, the reliability standards assume zero tolerance of any tree contact or tree-related power outages on transmission lines. PPL noted that the federal government will fine the utility if they fail to comply.

To comply with the mandate, the company has changed the way they maintain their rights of way. In the past, PPL selectively pruned tall growing trees away from the lines. Now all vegetation under the line is cleared. Trees that were allowed to remain along the transmission right of way must be removed.

This is the second year under this program.

PPL has scheduled maintenance along 450 miles of transmission lines and some work will be done in Franklin Township, noted Green.

Green said that some Franklin Township residents will see trees removed on or near their properties where transmission lines are located.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact Paul Canevari at (570) 620-3310 or email him at pjcanevari@pplweb.com.