FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Mon Power is using an innovative way to try and reduce power outages in the state.  

Courtesy: First Energy

The power company is using chainsaws attached to helicopters to trim trees. The aerial saws will trim trees along 187 miles of eight high voltage transmission lines across West Virginia. The two helicopters trimming trees along the transmission lines are both MD 500s.

“In severe weather events you have trees and limbs coming into contact with power lines, so it’s really important for us to keep those clear, which is why we’re doing this with these aerial saws,” Will Boye, First Energy communications specialist, said. “It’s one of the best ways that we can reduce the number of outages and the length of the outages that our customers experience in West Virginia.” 

Courtesy: First Energy

Officials said this process happens yearly and can trim more trees in a day then ground workers can in a week. The process also eliminates the risk of injury to workers using bucket trucks or climbing trees to cut limbs near high-voltage equipment.

“Taking this step to safeguard our high-voltage power lines is an important part of our vegetation management program and an effective way to reduce service interruptions for our customers,” said Jim Myers, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia operations.

Mon Power will clear vegetation along approximately 5,700 miles of distribution and transmission power lines in its West Virginia service area this year as part of its $70 million vegetation management program.

Helicopter tree trimming will start in north central West Virginia in mid-July and continue into September. 

The full list of locations for tree trimming in north central West Virginia are: 

  • A 138-kilovolt (kV) line in Brooke and Ohio counties that runs nearly nine miles from the Windsor Heights area to the Pennsylvania border  
  • A 138-kV line in Pendleton and Grant counties that runs 37 miles from Franklin to Petersburg  
  •  A 500-kV line in Monongalia, Marion and Taylor counties that runs 29 miles from Pruntytown to Maidsville  
  •  A 138-kV line in Monongalia, Marion and Taylor counties that runs 18 miles from Morgantown to Pruntytown  
  •  A 138-kV line in Marion and Harrison counties that runs 19 miles from Fairmont to Clarksburg  
  •  A 138-kV line in Taylor and Preston counties that runs 30 miles from Pruntytown to Albright  
  •  A 138-kV line in Braxton and Nicholas counties that runs 23 miles from Sutton to Powell Mountain  
  •  A 138-kV line in Upshur and Randolph counties that runs 22 miles from Buckhannon to Elkins