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For immediate release
July 21, 2006 at 10:41am
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Patti Bogan, 762-4736

Chugach awarded Tree Line USA Certification

Treeline USA award

Chugach is in the top 5 percent of 3,300 electric utilities in the United States, according to the National Arbor Day Foundation. The group recently awarded Chugach its Tree Line USA certification for the seventh consecutive year. The award is given to recognize outstanding right of way and vegetation management practices, and community involvement in tree planting around power lines.

The Tree Line USA program promotes the dual goals of dependable utility service and abundant, healthy trees. In order to earn certification, a utility must provide quality tree care and conduct annual worker training and public education. Chugach has a comprehensive program to professionally manage vegetation in its rights of way and help customers make good decisions on what trees and shrubs to plant near electrical equipment. Chugach has a certified arborist on staff to oversee its program.

"This is a really good program for both the utility and its customers," said Chugach arborist, Chris O'Brien. "It gives us credibility with the customers because the jobs we do are done according to nationally-approved pruning standards.

"It's been an awesome vehicle for customer education on trees and utility issues," O'Brien continued. "I think the biggest benefit is good will with the community. Our program has been elevated to a new level and we are able to get more clearing and pruning done because we use nationally-accepted methods."

Patricia Joyner, from the State Division of Urban and Community Forestry, presented the national certification to Chugach's chairman of the board Jeff Lipscomb at the July 19 Board of Directors meeting.

"Congratulations for meeting the standards of Tree Line USA for the seventh year," said Joyner. "Chugach and 137 other utilities nationwide have found that making the effort to meet the Tree Line standards not only provides beautiful trees for the future, but results in long-term operational savings for the utility.

The National Arbor Day Foundation was founded in 1972 to help people plant and care for trees. Florida kicks off the state Arbor Day celebrations in December, with other states following through the month of May. Alaska celebrates Arbor Day the third Monday in May.

Chugach is the largest electric utility in Alaska, providing power for Alaskans throughout the Railbelt through retail, wholesale and economy energy sales.