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Press Release

04/29/2011

Progress Energy Florida appreciates efforts for safety this Arbor Day

Planning ahead ensures safety in planting
 
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 29, 2011) – This Arbor Day Progress Energy Florida reminds customers to plant the right tree species in the right place to ensure power line safety and reliability. 

Progress Energy Florida is celebrating National Arbor Day with community partners in ceremonies at parks and cities throughout our service territory. Activities include:

  • Progress Energy planted live oaks and provided signage to note the importance of large trees at the Pinellas County Extension Office facility.
  • The Florida Botanical Gardens, in Largo, purchased and planted three oaks in the formal gardens using a $1,500 donation from Progress Energy.
  • On April 21, fifth-grade students of Hillcrest Elementary in Lake Wales planted four live oaks provided by Progress Energy. Progress Energy representatives will return to the school on April 29 to join their Earth Day celebration and emphasize the importance of planting the right tree at the right place.
  • On April 22, Progress Energy presented the City of Apalachicola Tree Advisory committee a $1,000 donation to purchase and plant trees in the city.
  • Progress Energy will provide a donation of $500 to the City of Monticello for low-growing trees.
  • On April 26, Marion County Commission members and officials accepted a tree donated by Progress Energy to be planted at Veterans Park.
  • On April 28, the Inverness City Council and city manager will accepted a tree, to be planted at Liberty Park, from Progress Energy.

Choosing the right tree or plant for the right location is very important. That’s why Progress Energy Florida, a Tree Line USA® utility, created the “Know Where You Grow” rights-of-way vegetation-management plan. Customers and property owners who take their surroundings into consideration can save trees while helping prevent energized limbs, downed power lines and other dangerous situations.

“Arbor Day celebrations can provide an annual reminder that the wrong type of tree planted too close to a power line can cause significant power outages and safety issues,” said Progress Energy Florida Senior Forester Rich Alexander. “We encourage our customers to select appropriate, low-growing species when planting trees near power lines and suggest that they hire professionals to trim any trees growing near our lines.”

In addition to preventing outages and reducing safety hazards, the right tree can improve energy efficiency by providing shade and wind protection, reducing water consumption for the lawn, and providing beauty to the landscape and a place for wildlife to dwell.

Customers and property owners interested in planting trees near power lines are encouraged to select appropriate, low-growing varieties. When selecting a tree, consider these guidelines:

  • The mature height and spread of trees must remain 10 feet away from overhead, lower-voltage power lines. Small-sized trees (mature height – 15 feet or less) should be planted around these power lines.
  • Medium-sized trees (mature height – up to 40 feet) should be planted 25 feet away.
  • Large-sized trees (mature height – 40 feet or more) should be planted 50 feet away.
  • Transformer boxes require space, at least 6 feet in front and 3 feet on the sides, free of plants and other objects.
  • Power line poles must remain free from vegetation, including vines.

Progress Energy does not recommend planting around high-voltage transmission lines or in easements. Trees growing near transmission lines can cause a fire and be an electrical hazard to anyone in contact with the tree at ground level. Electricity can arc from the line to nearby trees given the right conditions (such as a voltage surge on the line from a nearby lightning strike) seriously injuring or killing anyone near the tree and interrupting electrical service to thousands of customers or whole communities.

Before customers begin an outdoor digging project for Arbor Day, Progress Energy reminds them to call Sunshine State One Call of Florida at 811 at least two full business days before digging so that underground utilities (cable, phone, electric, etc.) can be located and marked. It is also important to exercise caution when working outside near power lines.

The company is a proud Tree Line USA® utility. This honor comes from The Arbor Day Foundation™, which recognizes that Progress Energy Florida achieves the right balance in managing the responsibility to provide safe, reliable power to more than 1.6 million customers while overseeing the regions natural habitats.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit www.progress-energy.com.

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