Met-Ed helicopters inspect 1,300 miles of transmission lines

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With the summer heat expected to produce higher electric usage, Metropolitan Edison Co. (Met-Ed), a FirstEnergy Corp. unit, is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance in its 15-county eastern and south-central Pennsylvania service area to enhance service reliability for customers.

Cost-effective helicopter patrols have completed inspections on more than 1,300 miles of transmission lines located in the Met-Ed area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection will be addressed immediately.

On the ground, Met-Ed crews are inspecting distribution circuits, including transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning usage.

In addition, a team of Met-Ed and FirstEnergy employees recently conducted readiness exercises to test the company's restoration process used to repair storm-related power outages. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.

Tree trimming is another key to preparing the Met-Ed system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Met-Ed tree contractors have trimmed about 760 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 1,545 miles by year end.

Met-Ed serves about 560,000 customers in 15 Pennsylvania counties.

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