JCP&L trims trees in New Jersey towns to reduce risk of branches causing power outages

JCP&L says the leading cause of power outages is falling tree limbs on live wires.

Chris Keating

Apr 11, 2024, 4:15 PM

Updated 44 days ago


One way to reduce power outages in New Jersey neighborhoods is by trimming trees that threaten to pull down live wires. Such work took place in Monmouth County ahead of Thursday's rain.
News 12 New Jersey spotted utility crews along Madison Avenue in Bradley Beach trimming trees. JCP&L says the leading cause of power outages is falling tree limbs on live wires. The utility company is spending $32 million in 2024 to trim trees throughout New Jersey and keep that power pulsing through homes.
“The goal of it is to reduce the risk of branches coming down, so we want to enhance reliability, protect our lines. We want to do it in a way that maintains the health and integrity of the tree,” says JCP&L spokesman Chris Hoenig. “This year we will trim trees along 3,400 miles of power lines.”
Hoenig adds, “All of our circuits get reviewed on a four-year cycle. Bradley Beach is part of the four-year cycle.”
If one looks up above avenues like Madison and Brinley in Bradley Beach, one would see why this township is visited every four years by the utility company. Live wires crisscross these streets that are lined by older trees.
Tree trimmers have been working in bucket trucks to clear branches within 10 feet of power lines. They do not want to cut down entire trees if they don’t have to. JCP&L says it chooses townships and streets based on their history and what happened in past years.
This year the utility will spend another $2.5 million on what it considers “high-priority circuits.”
Hoenig says to think of a place like Howell Township.
“A lot of these are more densely forested areas, so a lot more trees,” he says. “We are going to expand the tree trimming but also going to put in stronger poles, more robust wiring.”
Bradley Beach is not considered a high priority, but sitting just alongside the shore, it could see high and potentially damaging winds.
This is an annual effort. Since this work started in January, trees have been pruned along 638 miles of power lines.
Homeowners can request to have JCP&L check out a tree on their property if they are concerned it may take out power lines.

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