Nearly 30 communities in Maine’s Capital Region are among more than 200 cities and towns in central and southern Maine to benefit from Central Maine Power Company’s (CMP) tree care program during the first half of 2011. The work along utility lines is part of a $25 million annual vegetation management program to improve the reliability of its transmission and distribution lines.

“We have more than 25,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines, and along much of it, trees are growing toward the wires or at risk of falling down on them,” said CMP Spokesman John Carroll. “Contact with vegetation is the most frequent cause of blinking clocks and power outages, so customers should see better reliability as the crews trim along the roadsides in their towns.”

CMP trims along one-quarter of its transmission lines and one-fifth of its distribution lines each year. In the coming weeks, the company’s contractors will continue to trim trees along distribution lines in Augusta, Bowdoinham, Chelsea, China, Farmingdale, Fayette, Freedom, Gardiner, Hallowell, Jefferson, Liberty, Manchester, Monmouth, Mount Vernon, Palermo, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, Richmond, Sidney, Somerville, Vassalboro, Washington, Wayne, West Gardiner, Whitefield, Windsor, and Winthrop.

“These crews play a key role in helping CMP provide the safe, reliable service that customers depend on,” said Carroll. “This kind of work can be difficult, and we urge motorists who come across these crews to proceed slowly and at a safe distance.”

CMP contracts with professional arborists who are required to follow practices established by the International Society of Arboriculture. These include consideration for the health, shape, strength, growth rate, and appearance of trees before and after pruning. CMP notifies customers about its vegetation management activities every year with inserts in its bills. Customers can sign up to receive a notice when tree trimming is happening in their area.