FE Receives Right-of-Way Steward Award

January 10, 2022

FirstEnergy has achieved official accreditation by the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC). As part of the process, we’ve been recognized with the ROWSC Right-of-Way Steward Award, which highlights our company for its leadership in sustainable Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) on our transmission systems.

“The benefits of this accreditation are far reaching,” said Mark Contat, general manager, Transmission Vegetation Management. He pointed out that its principles emphasize proactive management and control methods that reduce undesirable vegetation, increase compatible vegetation coverage and institutionalize sustainable management. “This leads to more efficient and effective treatment efforts that also yield cost savings. In addition, it supports positive relations with the industry, communities, stakeholders and regulatory agencies.”

The ROWSC Accreditation program was created to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship along utility rights-of-way. The accreditation process presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. By promoting the application of IVM best management practices, the program aims to address ecological concerns and maintain power system reliability.

ROWSC Accreditation Standards follow the lead of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Standards for Assessing Performance of Integrated Vegetation Management on Rights-of-Way and are informed by other well-established accreditation programs found in the forestry industry. The ROWSC Accreditation program establishes rigorous management standards based on a set of 10 predetermined principles, 30 criteria, 50 indictors, and 206 verifiers, requires a formal application process, and enlists third-party auditors to verify compliance with standards.

An independent audit team found FirstEnergy to be compliant with all 10 principles, all 29 applicable criteria, all 50 applicable indicators and 197 of 201 applicable verifiers, including all required verifiers. Additionally, FE achieved the status of Good Practice or Best Practice for all principles and applicable verifiers.

The multifaceted audit process included an extensive document review; interviews with staff within our Transmission Vegetation Management, Permitting & Environmental Services and Supply Chain groups, as well as vendors performing vegetation management work; and a field audit encompassing 64 FirstEnergy transmission sites.