As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the durability and flexibility of its electric system, FirstEnergy Corp. expects to invest about $128 million on distribution and transmission projects to enhance reliability for customers in the Pennsylvania Power’s (Penn Power) western Pennsylvania service area.
Major projects scheduled for 2017 include rebuilding transmission lines, adding transformers, breakers and capacitors to substations, enhancing security at substations, dividing power lines into smaller segments to reduce the number of customers affected when an outage occurs, and the inspection and replacement of utility poles.
“We are seeing continued dividends from the investments we have made to our system over the years,” said Randall A. Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison, which owns Penn Power. “Our goal is to pursue transmission and distribution projects that not only enhance service to our existing customers, but also prepare our system to accommodate future economic growth,”
Projects scheduled in the Penn Power footprint in 2017 include:
· Rebuilding more than 17 miles of a 69 kV transmission line connecting substations in New Castle and Slippery Rock to enhance service reliability for customers in Lawrence and Butler counties. The nearly $20 million project is expected to be completed by August.
· Rebuilding 38 miles of a 69-kV transmission connecting substations in New Castle and Ellwood City to enhance service reliability for customers in Beaver and Lawrence counties at a cost of nearly $12 million.
· Replacing capacitor banks, transformers, breakers and relays and other equipment in the Hoytdale, Shenango, Beaver Valley, Warrendale and Harlan substations at a cost of more than $8 million.
· Upgrading an existing 7.5-mile 69-kV transmission line connecting substations in Butler and Mercer counties to support 138 kV operation. Approximately $4 million is expected to be spent this year on the project.
· Building a new modular substation in Stoneboro and rebuilding more than 8 miles of a nearby distribution line at a cost of $5 million.
· Building a new modular substation in New Castle at a cost of $1.7 million.
· Installing enhanced security features at several substations at a cost of almost $2 million.
· Replacing a transformer at a substation in Sharon at a cost of about $1.3 million.
· Rebuilding nearly six miles of circuit in the Jamestown area at a cost of $2.3 million.
· Dividing power lines into smaller segments at a cost of about $1 million to help reduce the number of customers affected when an outage occurs.
· Spending nearly $650,000 inspecting and replacing distribution poles, as needed, in Penn Power’s service area.
About $77 million of the total spend will be for transmission projects owned by American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate.
In 2016, FirstEnergy spent about $125 million in the Penn Power area on large and small transmission and distribution projects, including adding equipment to substations, rebuilding power lines, installing voltage-regulating equipment and automated controls, and replacing poles.