West Penn Power installs new transmission line to enhance reliability

West Penn Power, a unit of FirstEnergy Corp., energized a new 138 kV transmission line designed to strengthen its regional transmission network, accommodate future load growth and help maintain reliable electric service for customers in Greene County, Pa.

The 14-mile transmission line connects a substation near Kirby, Pa., with a substation in Monongalia County, W. Va. Both substations were expanded and reconfigured to accommodate the new line. While the majority of the line is located in the West Penn Power service area, the West Virginia portion of the line is expected to benefit customers of Mon Power, another FirstEnergy unit.

Construction on the $20 million transmission project, which includes a combination of wooden and steel structures, began in the spring 2012 and involved FirstEnergy utility crews as well as outside contractors. As part of the design, the line also is connected with a large 500 kV substation near Mt. Morris in Greene County via a new transformer that was installed separately at a cost of about $8.5 million.

In 2013, West Penn Power plans to spend about $110 million to further enhance the electrical system and reliability in its 24-county service area. Other major projects scheduled for this year include building new circuits, replacing underground cables, and inspecting and replacing utility poles.

West Penn Power also continues to implement its vegetation management program to trim trees and maintain proper clearances along nearly 4,500 miles of distribution and sub-transmission lines at a cost of nearly $25 million to help reduce tree-related storm damage.

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