Vegetation Management Paramount to Electric Service Reliability, Public Safety

Duquesne Light Company to clear vegetation along 1,300 miles of power lines in 2024


May 13, 2024

Duquesne Light Company (DLC) has begun its 2024 season of clearing overgrown trees, shrubs and brush — the leading cause of power outages. This year, approximately 45,000 trees along 1,300 miles of power lines in Allegheny and Beaver counties will be maintained, including areas within the city of Pittsburgh. As an electric utility that consistently provides class-leading reliability in Pennsylvania, DLC continually invests in and works to enhance its vegetation management efforts to keep providing customers with safe and reliable service while also protecting critical infrastructure and ensuring public safety.

DLC applies best practices and advanced technologies from both the arboricultural and utility vegetation management industries in meeting all state and federal regulations. Various techniques are used to safely manage vegetation, including manual removal or pruning, brush clearing and selective herbicide applications. Prior to performing work, the company notifies all impacted customers and property owners via phone and door hangers. In alignment with the utility industry’s standard vegetation management practices, DLC chips and hauls away branches and limbs and leaves the remaining wood stacked in manageable pieces. Many customers use this resource as firewood for their homes or share it with their communities; others choose to contact local landscapers for removal assistance. While DLC maintains the service wire that flows to a home, the customer is responsible for pruning or removing any vines or tree branches from the service-wire area that may interfere with electric service. DLC is also not responsible for maintaining vegetation that interferes with communication lines and poles.

“Vegetation management goes beyond removing and pruning potentially harmful vegetation; it’s also about educating our customers and communities on why these practices matter,” said Brian Bieber, DLC’s senior manager of vegetation management. “Planting the right trees in the right places is key to preventing power outages, ensuring the continuation of high-quality service and keeping the public and our workers safe.”

While tree removals may be necessary to keep the electrical grid safe and reliable, DLC offers vouchers for utility-compatible trees to impacted property owners. These vouchers can be redeemed at select local nurseries and are good for trees, brush and shrubs that do not grow high enough to affect the poles and wires that form the grid.


Commitment to Community and Environmental Stewardship 

DLC has been nationally recognized for 25 consecutive years with the Tree Line USA award by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, which recognize public and private utilities for pursuing best practices to protect and cultivate America’s urban tree canopy.

This award specifically recognizes efforts in:

  • Promoting utility vegetation management best practices.
  • Training qualified tree professionals in line clearance.
  • Engaging in tree plantings and public education.
  • Participating in Arbor Day celebrations.

“We recognize and share our customers’ appreciation for healthy and beautiful trees in southwestern Pennsylvania. That’s why, in addition to conducting continuous outreach and education about vegetation species that are compatible with the grid, we partner with numerous community organizations to advance environmental stewardship through volunteerism and advocacy. From parks and green spaces to tree plantings and urban gardens, DLC has invested millions of dollars over the years to protect our region’s biodiversity and natural environment,” said Christine Waller, DLC’s vice president of communications and corporate responsibility.

In 2023, DLC partnered with South Side Parks, Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh and the Borough of Carnegie to plant 31 utility-compatible trees in several local communities. The company also planted an additional 15 compatible trees last Arbor Day in the Larimer neighborhood, including varieties of red baron, royal raindrops crabapples and the American hophornbeam.

Recently, volunteers from the company participated in a tree-planting event at a Pittsburgh-area elementary school to educate students on trees and the local ecosystem. DLC’s Vegetation Management team will also partner with the city of Pittsburgh on Arbor Day, April 26, to plant 12 trees near Allegheny Commons Park. The company plans to engage in more tree plantings and other environmental stewardship efforts throughout the year.

For more information about DLC’s vegetation management program, including educational resources, visit the company’s website.