West Penn Power to strengthen electric grid with 50 T&D projects

FirstEnergy Corp. has scheduled nearly 50 major transmission and distribution infrastructure projects and other work in 2015 to help enhance service reliability in West Penn Power Co.'s 24-county service area.

Major projects scheduled for 2015 include transmission enhancements to reinforce the system and support economic growth, construction of new circuits, and the inspection and replacement of utility poles and other equipment.

Scheduled projects in the West Penn Power service area in 2015 include:

·      Building a new substation near St. Mary's, Pa., to reinforce the regional transmission system and enhance electric service reliability for about 95,000 West Penn Power customers in Elk County and surrounding areas. The substation will connect to two existing transmission lines and house voltage regulating equipment. The substation is scheduled to be completed and operational in June.

·      Constructing a new transmission substation in Washington County to support a new midstream gas processing facility near Burgettstown, Pa., that separates natural gas into dry and liquid components. The refinement and separation processes require large amounts of electricity. The new substation also will reinforce the regional electric system and is expected to benefit more than 40,000 West Penn Power customers in Washington and Allegheny counties. The new substation is scheduled to be completed and operational in early 2016.

·      Installing new equipment to increase and maintain voltage levels at an existing transmission substation near Houston, Pa. The substation improvements will help support operations at a midstream gas processing plant.

·      Installing equipment to maintain and increase voltage levels in a transmission substation near State College, Pa. The project should help accommodate future load growth in Centre County and is expected to enhance service reliability to about 64,000 West Penn Power customers in the area.

·      Installing new breakers at a 500-kV substation in Washington County in southwest Pennsylvania.

·      Completing various projects to expand the distribution system throughout West Penn Power's 24-county service area.

·      Adding additional distribution line capacity in the Park Hills area of State College to help support new student housing and related development.

·      Building a new two-mile distribution line in the Manifold area of Washington, Pa., and replacing a large substation power transformer to support increased residential and commercial growth.

·      Upgrading a substation in the North Huntington area of Route 30 in Westmoreland County to enhance service reliability for over 2,100 customers.

·      Building a new 1.3-mile distribution line in the Southpointe area of Canonsburg, Pa., to support increased residential and commercial growth.

·      Constructing a new distribution line in the northern area of Uniontown, Pa., to support increased residential and commercial growth.

·      Inspecting about 59,000 utility poles and replacing or reinforcing about 430 poles. This inspection process is conducted on a 12-year cycle in Pennsylvania, and replacement work is scheduled to be conducted throughout the year.

·      Upgrading equipment on 158 distribution circuits throughout the service territory to help enhance service reliability. These improvements — including installing cross arms, hardware, and other equipment — are expected to enhance the electrical system and reliability of service for more than 140,000 West Penn Power customers in Pennsylvania.

West Penn Power serves about 720,000 customers in 24 Pennsylvania counties.

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