UPM to improve electricity distribution reliability in collaboration with Fortum

Press Release 6.9.2013 10:00 EEST

(UPM, Helsinki, 6 September 2013, at 10:00 EET) - During the coming autumn and winter, forestry service provider UPM Silvesta will collaborate with Fortum and clear approximately 100 kilometres of electric power lines in Vihti, Finland. Trees will be felled approximately 10 metres either side of the power lines in order to secure the reliable distribution of electricity even in harsh weather conditions.

New Electricity Market Act brings new challenges to electricity distribution network companies

A new Electricity Market Act entered into force in Finland on 1 September 2013. The act requires electricity distribution network companies to plan, construct and maintain the distribution network so that it functions as reliably as possible. In practice, this means that distribution network companies may, for instance, fell and remove trees near the distribution network without permission from the landowner if this is necessary to prevent interruptions to the distribution of electricity. The objective of the new act is to improve the reliability of electricity distribution and minimise the inconvenience to customers caused by power outages.

Fortum and UPM Silvesta to test new operating models for maintenance of overhead power lines

The length of Fortum's electricity network in Finland is approximately 77,000 kilometres. Approximately 25,000 kilometres of this network consist of medium-voltage power transmission lines, which are very prone to snow-induced problems. About half of these medium-voltage lines are situated in forests so the new act is of great significance to the company.

UPM Silvesta, on the other hand, provides electricity companies with a comprehensive power-line-clearing package that includes researching who owns the land, making forest markings, contacting customers, organising timber transactions and performing harvesting and clearing work.

During the coming autumn and winter, UPM and Fortum will test a collaboration model where felling will be performed in forests in the immediate vicinity of electric power lines as Fortum performs its regular maintenance clearing work. Trees threatening to endanger electricity distribution will be felled in a 10-metre-wide area on both sides of the power-line corridor. UPM Silvesta will be responsible for the felling, short-distance haul and joint sale of the timber.

Both companies interested in wood

"In this pilot project, we are particularly interested in the amounts and types of wood available, or in how much removable wood there is and how it can be used. We are also seeking a collaboration model that would satisfy all parties: the electricity company, the landowner and the contractor," explains Sauli Antila, Head of Network Development at Fortum Distribution.

"We have successfully cleared power lines in collaboration with Fortum in several locations. We fell trees from beneath overhead electric lines, remove branches and trees from the sides of power line corridors, manage forests in the immediate vicinity of power lines and clear new corridors for power lines. We also safely harvest trees that fall on power lines during storms. As a national operator, we can offer a comprehensive service for the management of the distribution network," says Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director of UPM Silvesta.

"When a forest in the immediate vicinity of an electric power line is well managed, it provides its owner with both financial and scenic benefit," Koivumäki says.

For further information, please contact:
Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director, UPM Silvesta, tel. +358 40 717 0085     
Sauli Antila, Head of Network Development, Fortum Distribution, tel. +358 40 658 9708 

UPM, Media Desk
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Tel. +358 40  588 3284

UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials (valid until October, 31, 2013). UPM employs approximately 22,000 people. UPM is present in 67 countries and have production units in 17 countries. UPM's annual sales exceed € 10 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. UPM – The Biofore Company – www.upm.com

UPM Silvesta, owned by UPM, is Finland’s biggest private company specializing in silvicultural work. UPM Silvesta annually carries out silvicultural operations in an area covering 70 000 hectares. UPM Silvesta offers services such as clearing of power lines, landscaping, nature management and silvicultural operations for private forest owners, companies and municipalities. It employs about 130 forest workers directly and supervises a network of over 200 contractors, some of which are franchising partners and some subcontractors.

Fortum’s purpose is to create energy that improves life for present and future generations. We provide sustainable solutions that fulfill the needs for low emissions, resource-efficiency and energy security, and deliver excellent value to our shareholders. Our activities cover the generation, distribution and sales of electricity and heat as well as related expert services.

Fortum’s operations focus on the Nordic countries, Russia, Poland and the Baltics. In the future, the integrating European and fast-growing Asian energy markets provide additional growth opportunities. In 2012, Fortum’s sales totaled EUR 6.2 billion and comparable operating profit was EUR 1.7 billion. We employ approximately 10,400 people. Fortum’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. www.fortum.com.