JCP&L begins $32.5M tree-trimming program along 3,400 miles of lines in 13 counties

Trees are the No. 1 cause of power outages in New Jersey. That’s why Jersey Central Power & Light has started work on this year’s $32.5 million tree-trimming program, which will trim trees along more than 3,400 miles of power lines in 13 counties in northern and central Jersey.

JCP&L officials said the comprehensive vegetation management program is designed to help keep power flowing to customers by helping to reduce tree-related outages, such as those that can occur during severe weather.

This year’s $32.5 million plan is the first of an annual $1.5 million increase in tree trimming agreed to as part of a settlement with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. JCP&L will also spend an additional $2.5 million for each of the next five years to further expand the tree-trimming zones along 18 high-priority circuits throughout its central and northern New Jersey service territory. These circuits were identified through historical outage data.

JCP&L President Jim Fakult said the effort is a top priority.

“Falling trees and branches are the No. 1 cause of power outages for our customers in New Jersey,” he said. “Our year-round tree-trimming efforts are one of the most effective proactive steps we can take to help ensure safe, reliable and affordable electric service to our customers, especially as we move into the summer storm season.”

Completed on a four-year cycle, JCP&L’s tree-trimming program includes inspecting vegetation near power lines to ensure trees are pruned in a manner that helps preserve the health of the tree while maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment. Tree trimming is conducted by certified forestry contractors under the company’s direction.

Since Jan. 1, contractors have trimmed trees along more than 638 miles of power lines, with a total of 3,419 miles expected to be completed by year-end.

While JCP&L’s tree-trimming program is designed to lower the risk of tree-related outages, work is limited to company rights-of-way. In 2023, 86% of tree-related outages in JCP&L’s service territory were caused by trees located outside of these rights of way. If you believe a tree poses a risk to power lines, you can report it on JCP&L’s website, and company foresters can assess the situation.

JCP&L will trim trees in the following counties and municipalities over the next two months:

  • Burlington: Chesterfield, Mansfield, New Hanover, North Hanover, Pemberton, Springfield, Wrightstown;
  • Hunterdon: Alexandria, Clinton, Delaware Twp., East Amwell, Flemington, Frenchtown, Holland Twp., Kingwood, Lebanon, Milford, Readington, Stockton, Tewksbury, West Amwell;
  • Mercer: East Windsor, Hightstown;
  • Middlesex: Cranbury, Laurence Harbor, Monroe, Old Bridge;
  • Monmouth: Aberdeen, Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Englishtown, Howell, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune Twp., Neptune City, Ocean Twp., Wall;
  • Morris: Chatham, Chatham Twp., Chester, Denville, Harding, Long Hill, Madison, Mountain Lakes, Mount Olive, Parsippany-Troy Hills;
  • Ocean: Beachwood, Berkeley, Brick, Island Heights, Jackson, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Manchester, Plumsted, Point Pleasant Boro, South Toms River, Toms River;
  • Passaic: Ringwood, Wanaque, Wayne;
  • Somerset: Bernards, Bernardsville, Bridgewater, Far Hills, Peapack and Gladstone, Warren Twp.;
  • Sussex: Andover, Andover Twp., Byram, Franklin, Fredon, Frelinghuysen, Green Twp., Stillwater, Walpack;
  • Union: Berkeley Heights, Springfield, Summit;
  • Warren: Allamuchy, Blairstown, Hardwick, Hope, Independence, Knowlton, Washington.

Crews are also continuing a multiyear effort to identify and remove deteriorated ash trees that have been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. Nearly 53,000 dead and dying ash trees have been removed in JCP&L’s service area, primarily in northern New Jersey, since the initiative began in 2017.