FirstEnergy to invest $2.8 billion in transmission expansion

FirstEnergy Corp. plans to invest an additional $2.8 billion over four years to expand its previously announced “Energizing the Future” electric transmission initiative.

The main focus of the initial construction effort will be the 69 kV transmission power lines and substations in the Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., Toledo Edison and Penn Power areas. The program is expected to be expanded into other FirstEnergy service territories during the next several years.

Work on these new transmission projects is expected to begin in 2014 and continue through 2017.

The 69 kV system is the vital link between the high voltage transmission lines and the distribution network that provides power to end-use customers. As part of this program, approximately 7,200 circuit miles of 69 kV and higher transmission lines will be evaluated and rebuilt, as needed.

More than 170 substations will be inspected and upgraded, along with 70,000 transmission structures that will be evaluated and rebuilt, as needed.

The scope of the work will involve adding redundancies to the network, which is another step designed to enhance customer service reliability. Work also will be done to improve security at substations by adding new fencing, thermal imaging devices, and various surveillance options.

While some of the projects will be done by FirstEnergy personnel, certain aspects of the work will be completed by area electrical contractors, which will benefit the local economy by creating additional construction jobs. Over four years, this program is expected to put more than 1,100 contractors to work, with the majority being union workers from northeast Ohio.

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