FirstEnergy, which serves the northern half of the state, has said its costs were $110 million.
Appalachian Power does not currently have a "trim cycle" -- a set number of years during which it clears all of its right of ways of trees. Instead, the company tries to identify high-risk areas and areas where the company's executives believe reliability can be most significantly enhanced.
Charles Patton, Appalachian Power's president and chief operating officer, said in a November interview that he would like to establish a four-year trim cycle.
The company currently spends about $15 million annually on tree trimming. Appalachian Power has estimated a four-year cycle would cost an additional $25 million a year for about five years, with the additional cost dropping back to $17 million or $18 million a year thereafter.
The company has figured that a four-year cycle would increase the average residential customer's bill by about $1 a month for five years and would then drop to about 48 cents a month, although those figures could change depending on the price of fuel and other factors.
But even a four-year trim cycle won't help when huge storms hit, Patton has said. "The trim cycle doesn't matter when you've got trees, root balls, coming down the mountains," he said in November.
Patton pointed out that FirstEnergy is already on a four-year trim cycle. But following Superstorm Sandy, Appalachian Power restored service to its customers before First Energy did. That's because First Energy serves more remote areas at higher elevations, he said.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.