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Progress Energy observes Arbor Day with tree donations and activities

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (APRIL 24, 2012) Progress Energy Florida is observing Arbor Day (April 27) with educational tree planting activities across its service area. Trees are part of the natural beauty of Florida, but trees and other vegetation are also leading causes of outages for utilities in the Southeast. Progress Energy must constantly work to balance aesthetic concerns with our responsibility to provide a reliable electric system for the more than 1.6 million households and businesses dependant on us.

"Progress Energy recognizes and supports the value of the urban forest and emphasizes planting trees away from overhead lines," said Vincent Dolan Progress Energy Florida president and CEO. "Educating our customers about proper planting techniques helps ensure trees can be enjoyed for many years to come."

Dolan joined University of Florida president Dr. Bernie Machen at a tree planting ceremony at Tigert Hall on Tuesday, April 24.

To help educate the public about the vegetation management process, Progress Energy will participate in additional educational tree planting activities across its service area. Select events include:

Citrus County: On Thursday, April 26, tree plantings and dedications will take place at the Crystal River City Hall, 123 NW Highway 19, in Crystal River at 10 a.m. and at the Inverness City Hall, 212 W. Main Street, Inverness at 2 p.m.

Seminole County: City of Casselberry and Casselberry's Friends of the Park will be hosting Earth Fest 2012 on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Casselberry's beautiful Lake Concord Park. Progress Energy will have a booth with "Know Where You Grow" handouts and other collateral and a Nissan Leaf will be on display. Progress Energy is donating $500 worth of trees to be planted along a road easement.

Pinellas County: Three live oak trees will be planted at the edge of a pond at Florida Botanical Gardens, on Ulmerton Road in Largo. This activity will be in conjunction with the construction of a children's educational station to learn about retention ponds and wetlands.

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. 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 - 12 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.

Progress Energy Florida has been recognized as a Tree Line USA utility since 2006 by The National Arbor Day Foundation. This honor acknowledges the effectiveness of the company's plant management practices with respect for the environment of the communities it serves.

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

Media contact: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line (866) 520-6397

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