Potomac Edison, a unit of FirstEnergy Corp., is upgrading equipment at a substation near Mt. Airy to help enhance service reliability for about 3,400 customers and meet increased electrical demand in the high-growth, eastern edge of its Maryland service area.
The centerpiece of the $2.5 million substation project is replacing two distribution transformers with larger units that will increase the system's capacity and help power the new residential and commercial development planned for eastern Frederick and Howard counties, which includes the new Preserve at Harvest Ridge housing development near New Market.
The substation upgrade includes the installation of two new breakers, a new substation control building, and the installation of automated and remote control devices designed to help reduce the number and duration of service interruptions.
"As the eastern portion of our Maryland service area transitions from rural communities to an increasingly suburban setting, our team is working to keep ahead of the rapid growth," said James A. Sears, president of FirstEnergy's Maryland operations. "When the upgrades are completed in early 2017, our substation near Mt. Airy will be well-positioned to handle the area's electrical needs for years to come. In addition, the 'smart' equipment being installed will allow our operators to use real-time data to best manage the distribution system to provide reliable electric service to our customers."
The first transformer was delivered to the substation earlier this month and is scheduled to be installed and operational by the end of the year. The second transformer will be delivered and installed in early 2017.
The transformers each measure 15 feet long by 13 feet wide by 14 feet tall, and weigh nearly 80,000 pounds. Overall, the project is expected to be completed by early 2017.
The project is one of numerous distribution and transmission infrastructure projects totaling $128 million that FirstEnergy Corp. has planned in 2016 for the Potomac Edison service area.