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FirstEnergy Spends $115M on Western Pa. Upgrades

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AKRON, Ohio — FirstEnergy Corp. spent more than $115 million in 2014 in its Pennsylvania Power service area on infrastructure projects and other work designed to help reduce the number and duration of power outages, the company reports. More than $76 million of the total has been spent on transmission-related projects owned by American Transmission Systems Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.

Penn Power serves more than 160,000 customers in all or parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania.

“Whether it’s building new transmission lines and substations, or replacing thousands of utility poles as part of our ongoing inspection programs, our goal is to reduce the number and duration of outages our customers experience,” said Randall Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison and Penn Power, in a prepared statement. “These projects help us enhance day-to-day service reliability for our customers along with maintaining our system’s capability to handle future load growth.”
Projects included:

  • Transmission substation enhancements, including replacing equipment and adding capacity for expected future growth, at a cost of more than $28 million.
  • Transmission line construction and maintenance projects, including replacing breakers, poles and other hardware at a cost of more than $20 million.
  • Major ongoing construction at a substation in New Castle to enhance service reliability at a cost of almost $14 million in 2014, with completion expected in June of this year.
  • Distribution system enhancements, including rewiring circuits, annual pole inspection and replacements and distribution substation equipment replacements at a cost of almost $12 million.
  • Tree trimming and vegetation management efforts, including dealing with the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, at a total cost of more than $7 million.

Planning also is continuing for projects that are expected to be completed in 2015, including new substations, transmission lines and circuit upgrades, the company said.

Penn Power also made it easier last year for customers to check the progress of service restoration efforts when they experience a power outage. The company’s 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, Penn Power customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair, and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work, the company said.

Penn Power customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.

SOURCE: FirstEnergy.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.