Transmission and distribution projects planned in Penelec to strengthen power grid

FirstEnergy Corp. has scheduled more than 60 distribution and transmission infrastructure projects and other work in 2015 designed to enhance service reliability in Pennsylvania Electric Co.'s (Penelec) 31-county service area.

Major projects scheduled for this year include upgrading substations, enhancing existing distribution circuits, inspecting and replacing utility poles, and installing automated and remote control devices to help reduce the number of outages Penelec customers might experience.

The scheduled projects in the Penelec service area for 2015 include:

·      Upgrading substations in Altoona, Bradford, Clearfield, Erie, Huntingdon, Indiana, Johnstown, Mainesburg, Meshoppen and Towanda to help enhance customer reliability. These upgrades include adding new circuit breakers, switches and other equipment.

·      Inspecting and upgrading existing electrical circuits, including installing new wire, cable and fuses to help enhance customer service reliability throughout the Penelec service area.

·      Inspecting, repairing, and replacing, as needed, streetlights throughout the Penelec service territory.

·      Installing radio-controlled switches that can be operated remotely from the company dispatch center in Erie, Pa., to help restore power more quickly and efficiently.

·      Installing equipment designed to help maintain proper voltage levels. This is expected to benefit Penelec's industrial and large commercial customers that operate large motors and other sensitive machinery. Capacitor banks are used to help maintain proper voltage levels during periods of high demand — most notably during summer months. Capacitor banks are scheduled to be installed in numerous locations throughout Penelec's service area.

·      Inspecting about 41,000 utility poles and making replacements, as needed. This inspection process is conducted on a 12-year cycle. Inspections began in January, with replacement work scheduled to be completed throughout the fall.

Penelec serves about 590,000 customers in 31 Pennsylvania counties.

Penelec is a unit of FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy’s 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.

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