West Penn Power energizes new transmission line

Source:FirstEnergy Corp.
West Penn Power transmission linemen John Hirleman, left, and Dave Starliper check
the new 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line leaving Whiteley Substation near
Kirby, Pa., in Greene County.

West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), announced that it has energized a new 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line designed to strengthen its regional power transmission network, accommodate future load growth and help maintain reliable electric service for customers in Greene County, Pa.

The 14-mile transmission line connects a substation near Kirby, Pa., with a substation in Monongalia County, W. Va.  Both substations were expanded and reconfigured to accommodate the new line.  While the majority of the line is located in the West Penn Power service area, the West Virginia portion of the line is expected to benefit customers of Mon Power, another FirstEnergy subsidiary.

"This transmission project is part of our continuous improvement effort to deliver the quality service our customers expect and deserve," said David McDonald, regional president of West Penn Power.  "The new transmission line provides added redundancy, making our system more robust to benefit our customers, especially with the anticipated load growth in this area."

Construction on the $20 million transmission project, which includes a combination of wooden and steel structures, began in the spring 2012 and involved FirstEnergy utility crews as well as outside contractors.  As part of the design, the line also is connected with a large 500 kV substation near Mt. Morris in Greene County via a new transformer that was installed separately at a cost of about $8.5 million.

In 2013, West Penn Power plans to spend approximately $110 million to further enhance the electrical system and reliability in its 24-county service area.  Other major projects scheduled for this year include building new circuits, replacing underground cables, and inspecting and replacing utility poles.

West Penn Power also continues to implement its vegetation management program to trim trees and maintain proper clearances along nearly 4,500 miles of distribution and sub-transmission lines at a cost of nearly $25 million to help reduce tree-related storm damage.

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