Penn Power Begins Upgrade of Lawrence County System

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Power Co., a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is upgrading infrastructure and installing technology to modernize its electric system in Lawrence County.

The project is part of a new, four-year plan that the power company expects to enhance electric service reliability for customers. The work builds upon previous system upgrades that have decreased electric service disruption frequency by 20% for customers in areas where work has been completed since 2016, the utility said.

Projects in Lawrence County include installing approximately 300 new poles and replacing more than 50,000 feet of power lines with thicker, more durable wire designed to withstand severe weather elements and tree debris.

The work includes the creation of additional circuit ties so power can be re-routed to customers from another source if a line is damaged, resulting in faster power restoration. In addition, customers will benefit from the installation of nearly a dozen new automated reclosing devices that can help restore power to customers within seconds of a outage, Penn Power said.

The automated technology is safer and saves time and money because utility workers can restore service to customers remotely rather than sending a crew to investigate, which is especially helpful in rural areas.

“Penn Power’s investments to modernize the local energy grid to date have successfully reduced the number and length of outages our customers experience, and we expect similar results with the ongoing work,” said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Penn Power and Ohio Edison.

The work started in early June and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. It is part of Penn Power’s second phase Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan, approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

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

Image: Penn Power Co.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.