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ComEd balances trees, safety, service
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 7/3/2009 12:00 AM

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Like many customers, ComEd appreciates the value of wooded communities, the aesthetics and the pleasure trees provide. We must also balance the concern for this value with an equally important set of concerns: public safety and reliable electricity.

Tree-related outages are a major cause of electrical interruptions. For that reason, state and federal authorities placed greater emphasis on clearance standards following a major East Coast service disruption in 2003. As a stakeholder with property rights along portions of the DuPage County Trail System, in late May, and again last week, ComEd presented a proposal and continued conversations with DuPage County officials that balances the interests of all parties and highlights the restoration of native prairie plants and trees along the trail system. The proposal advocates returning the path to its natural state, which requires the reduction of non-indigenous and invasive species to achieve the goal of an improved trail experience. The proposed work targets less than four miles of the 92-mile trail system.

The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized ComEd's approach and philosophy for balancing public safety and reliability while protecting and preserving trees for the past 10 years. Our work in DuPage is part of a larger mission to educate the public on planting the right species of trees near power lines. At ComEd, we will continue to lead and follow industry best practices and governmental regulations when performing tree and vegetation maintenance around our lines.

We look forward to continuing our discussions on a long-term trail maintenance agreement with DuPage County. Our partnership with the citizens of DuPage and trail users is valued and taken very seriously. We will continue seeking solutions that enhance electric reliability while supporting economic growth and enhancing quality of life.

Calvin Butler

senior vice president, ComEd