FirstEnergy Commitment to Sustainability Recognized with Right-of-Way Steward Accreditation

Published on: 28 February 2022
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The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council has named FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) a Right-of-Way Steward Utility, an accreditation received by just eight electric utilities in the country. The national recognition is awarded to utilities who demonstrate standards of excellence and leadership in managing vegetation along transmission rights-of-way – the parcels of land FirstEnergy uses to build, repair, and maintain the transmission facilities that serve as the backbone of the electric grid. 

FirstEnergy is committed to helping the natural plant life that grows along rights-of-way corridors thrive in a sustainable way while also helping ensure reliable electric service is maintained for customers. The company has met more than 100 evidence markers, 51 performance metrics and 30 criteria within the 10 principles of the ROW Steward Technical Requirements needed to receive the Right-of-Way Steward Utility accreditation. More information is available at the Council website, http://www.rowstewardship.org.

In addition to ensuring utilities are protecting vulnerable plant species and encouraging sustainable growth, the recognition also assesses their continuous commitment to promoting responsible vegetation management by engaging in conversations with external stakeholders, identifying opportunities for improvement, and creating long-term job growth. The accreditation process also monitors the utility's ability to address ecological concerns while maintaining system reliability.  

"Part of FirstEnergy's mission is to build a brighter and more sustainable future for the communities we serve," said Rebecca Spach, director of Vegetation Management at FirstEnergy. "We are honored to become a Right-of-Way Steward Utility and continue our dedication to responsible management of vegetation and enhancing the biodiversity of compatible plants along our transmission corridors while keeping the lights on for customers." 

The accreditation process included an extensive review of FirstEnergy's vegetation management plans, interviews with employees and vendors, on-site visits and field audits of 64 transmission sites by third-party experts. These standards necessary for accreditation are created in accordance with recommendations by industry experts, including the Electric Power Research Institute.   

In addition to meeting standards required for this accreditation, FirstEnergy has implemented many other initiatives to drive sustainability across its footprint. These include a partnership between the Pennsylvania State Game Commission, Pennsylvania State University, and FirstEnergy to promote pollinators, like bees and butterflies, along Pennsylvania State Game Lands 33, the longest running project of its kind in the country. FirstEnergy also has sponsored the Monarch Right of Way project, participated annually in National Pollinator Week, and worked with researchers at the Electric Power Research Institute to learn how plant species along transmission rights-of-way can support declining populations of insects vital to pollination. 

The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is an accreditation program that has established standards for responsible right-of-way vegetation management along corridors. The program promotes the application of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) and best management practices to utility vegetation managers to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns.  Find out more at http://www.rowstewardship.org.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.  

Source: FirstEnergy newsroom

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