Pennsylvania approves transmission improvements for FirstEnergy units

transmission project construction elp

To help ensure continued service reliability for two million Pennsylvania customers, FirstEnergy Corp. units Pennsylvania Power Co., West Penn Power Co., Metropolitan Edison Co. and Pennsylvania Electric Co. recently received approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for long term infrastructure improvement plans that will result in a total of an additional $245 million being spent on capital investments over the next five years.

Planned projects include replacing underground cable, installing new fuses and sectionalizing devices on overhead wires, replacing aging circuit breakers and transformers in substations and replacing additional wooden poles.

About $56 million of the work is expected to be completed in 2016 in the utilities' service areas, with the remainder being spent over the next four years that the plans will be in place.

The costs associated with these service reliability investments will be recovered by the FirstEnergy utilities through distribution system improvement charge filed with the PPUC.

For an average FirstEnergy residential customer in Pennsylvania, the DSICs will initially result in about a $0.06 increase in their monthly bill, and will be updated quarterly. The companies have requested that the DSICs take effect July 1, 2016.

Pennsylvania Act 11, approved in 2012, authorized the plans and established a process to encourage electric, natural gas, water and sewer utilities in Pennsylvania to accelerate investments in aging infrastructure and help create economic benefits.

FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities have, on average, the lowest rates in the state among investor-owned electric distribution companies. If approved, the new rates would still, on average, be lower than the average rates charged today by other Pennsylvania utilities.

The rate impact for each FirstEnergy utility, including the plans are:

Penn Power is proposing to spend an additional $56 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would initially increase $0.15, for a new monthly total bill of $139.37.

West Penn Power is expecting to spend an additional $88 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would initially increase $0.03, for a new monthly total bill of $113.37.

Penelec is planning to spend an additional $57 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month would initially increase $0.03, for a new monthly bill of $143.03.

Met-Ed is proposing to spend an additional $43 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would initially increase $0.02, for a new monthly bill of $139.68.

Penn Power serves about 161,000 customers within 1,100 square miles of western Pennsylvania.

West Penn Power serves about 720,000 customers within 10,400 square miles of central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Met-Ed serves 560,000 customers within 3,300 square miles of eastern and southeastern Pennsylvania. Penelec serves nearly 600,000 customers within 17,600 square miles of northern and central Pennsylvania.

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