Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has completed scheduled reliability projects for 2013 designed to further enhance the electrical system and reliability in its Western Maryland and Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia service areas. Major projects included transmission improvements, completion of new distribution circuits, replacement of underground cables, inspection and replacement of utility poles and ongoing vegetation management programs.
Potomac Edison's 2013 enhancements have both localized and widespread system benefits to customers throughout the service area. Upgrades to the distribution system include installation of new wire, cables and fuses to enhance service reliability. The company also completed transmission expansions and enhancements intended to increase the capacity and robustness of Potomac Edison's high-voltage transmission system. The work is part of Potomac Edison's overall $50 million investment in 2013 designed to help improve service reliability.
"These infrastructure investments are designed to help maintain our system on a day-to-day basis to benefit Potomac Edison customers now while helping to prepare our system for future load growth," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland Operations. "When combined with similar investments we've made in recent years, it's part of our ongoing effort to enhance the reliability of our system to benefit our customers."
Highlights of the Potomac Edison reliability work completed in 2013 include:
- The $5.3 million reconstruction of a transmission line to help maintain reliable electric service for more than 65,000 customers in Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
- Completing $4.6 million in substation improvements to help enhance service reliability in Frederick County, Md.
- Replacing equipment at Ridgeley Substation in Ridgeley, W. Va. to help ensure reliability for 13,000 customers in Allegany County, Md.
- Completing vegetation management work along nearly 2,900 miles of distribution and transmission lines at a cost of about $23 million.
- Upgrading 90 distribution circuits at a cost of $1.5 million to help enhance the electrical system and reliability for 65,000 customers in Maryland and West Virginia.
- Replacing underground distribution cables at a cost of more than $2.5 million in Hagerstown, Frederick, Damascus and Mt. Airy, Md., and Wardensville, W. Va.
- Work to divide large distribution circuits in Germantown and Urbana, Md., and Martinsburg, W. Va., to prepare for load expansion in high-growth areas and to help reduce outage frequency.
- Inspection of 37,000 utility poles and replacement of 250 poles at a cost of about $2 million.
Potomac Edison serves about 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 132,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.