Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec), a FirstEnergy Corp. unit, is installing laptop computers on more than 400 line trucks and support vehicles to enhance service and manage repair work more efficiently. The $3.8 million project is slated for completion later this year.
Using the new laptops will help crews save time by viewing work orders electronically rather than writing the information down when radioed or phoned in from the company's dispatching office.
The advanced technology displays detailed maps of Penelec's distribution and transmission systems and flags where other company crews are working. The laptop computers also use global positioning technology to provide turn-by-turn directions to work locations.
Other FirstEnergy utilities have installed the new computer technology in their vehicles, which allows those crews to coordinate and work efficiently with Penelec crews during storm restoration efforts.
It is anticipated the new equipment will help company personnel calculate more precise estimated restoration times, particularly during large-scale outages, because dispatchers can immediately see when crews are on site and engaged in repairs.
Penelec serves about 600,000 customers in 31 Pennsylvania counties.
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.