FirstEnergy’s Met-Ed finishing long-term infrastructure work

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) subsidiary Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed) is completing work on approximately $7.5m of electric system projects as part of its 2016 Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan to reduce the number and duration of service interruptions experienced by the company’s 560,000 customers.

The projects include installing enhanced protective devices on wires and poles, replacing or upgrading electric lines, adding other special equipment, and installing automated and remote control devices, FirstEnergy said in a Dec. 1 news release.

"These projects benefit customers by complementing the work we already do each year to enhance the reliability of our electric system," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Met-Ed.  "Our goal is to make our system the best it can be when it comes to limiting the number of outages our customers’ experience."

Met-Ed’s infrastructure plan was approved earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. This five-year, $43m program will target distribution infrastructure projects to enhance service reliability in the Met-Ed area through 2020.

Projects completed this year in the Met-Ed service area include:

•Replacement of more than 1,600 porcelain protective switches on poles and wires with new polymer devices. The switches are known as "cutouts.” The cutouts automatically open up when a system irregularity is detected, serving to protect the electrical equipment and limit the number of customers affected by an outage. 

In 2016, protective switches were replaced on six circuits primarily in Boyertown, Reading, Easton and York, Pennsylvania.

•Addition of new connection points where circuits come together, along with installing new devices, such as fuses and automated switches, to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs. The work is designed to enhance reliability for Met-Ed customers in the Boyertown area.

•Installation of radio-controlled switches on electric circuits. These devices can be operated remotely from the company dispatch center, allowing operators to restore power more quickly and efficiently than dispatching a crew to investigate.  Met-Ed is completing this work at almost 70 locations throughout its service area.

•Completion of a major line upgrade project in the Stroudsburg area.  This work included installing news poles, wire, and other equipment as needed.  In addition, cable was replaced on another circuit in the Stroudsburg area to enhance circuit performance.

•Replacement of 4,300 feet of cable in a Reading-area underground development.

•Installation of more than 1,000 new fuses on 91 circuits throughout Met-Ed’s service area.

In 2017, Met-Ed is expected to spend an additional $9m on similar Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan projects.

Met-Ed serves approximately 560,000 customers in 15 Pennsylvania counties.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at