AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 16, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — FirstEnergy Corp. announced that it is ordering 440 new vehicles, including 126 bucket trucks costing an average of $100,000 each. The new vehicles, which will be placed into service in 2005, are part of FirstEnergy’s plan to spend approximately $1 billion this year on improvements and daily operations for its electric utility companies. The company also will be ordering a similar number of vehicles in 2006 and 2007.
The new vehicles will replace the oldest ones at FirstEnergy’s seven electric utility operating companies — Ohio Edison, The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison, Pennsylvania Power, Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric Company, and Jersey Central Power & Light.
“These vehicles represent an investment in our service fleet in excess of $90 million for 2005 through 2007,” said Dick Grigg, executive vice president and chief operating officer of FirstEnergy. “While that is a sizeable investment, it is just part of our overall effort to enhance service. Many of our investments are targeted at our core electric business, including expanding distribution automation, replacing underground distribution lines, upgrading substations and related equipment, and further accelerating our vegetation management program.”
The new vehicles include:
* 86 material handling line trucks — Bucket trucks equipped with a jib and winch, giving them the ability to raise and lower transformers or other needed materials for construction and maintenance projects. They cost approximately $110,000 per vehicle.
* 40 trouble trucks — These bucket trucks, which cost approximately $90,000 each, are used by linemen and troubleshooters, who typically are the first responders to an outage. They will feature computerized mapping equipment to help crews locate outage sites more quickly.
* 42 utility service trucks — Trucks without buckets that are workshops on wheels and used primarily by substation personnel and mechanics in the field. The cost per vehicle is about $50,000.
* 39 digger derricks — These specialized crane trucks, which cost approximately $120,000 per vehicle, are equipped with mobile drilling equipment designed to replace damaged utility poles.
* 233 pickups and vans, ranging in price from $17,000 to $25,000 each, will be used by meter readers, meter services, line workers, and substation personnel.
The new vehicles will have engines with computerized controls and drive components that will provide superior fuel efficiency, better performance, and lower emissions.
“These vehicles will enhance the productivity of our highly skilled workforce and are visible signs that we are taking important steps to help meet and exceed our customers’ expectations for safe, reliable electric service,” said Charles E. Jones, Jr., senior vice president for Energy Delivery and Customer Service for FirstEnergy.
Because of the highly specialized design of the bucket, utility service and digger derrick vehicles, it typically takes from six to eight months for delivery of a vehicle after it has been ordered. As a result, while some of the vans and pickup trucks will arrive this spring, the bulk of the large vehicles will be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of 2005.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services. Its seven electric utility operating companies comprise the nation’s fifth largest investor-owned electric system, based on 4.4 million customers served within a 36,100-square-mile area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.