FirstEnergy: West Penn Power, Met-Ed, Penelec completing work on line, substation projects

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) on Aug. 8 said that West Penn Power is completing work on about $21m on power line and substation projects as part of a targeted 2017 program to reduce the number and duration of power outages experienced by West Penn Power’s 720,000 customers.

The work involves installing enhanced protective devices on wires and poles; rebuilding electric lines – including replacing damaged insulators, poles, cross arms, and wire; and installing automated and remote control devices, the company said.

The projects are part of West Penn Power’s 2016-2020 Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan (LTIIP) approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), FirstEnergy said, adding that that program focuses on distribution infrastructure enhancement projects in the West Penn Power service area, with a total of $88m to be spent through 2020 on system improvements.

The company said that the scheduled LTIIP projects in the West Penn Power service area in 2017 include:

  • Spending about $3.7m to install new electronic circuit breakers or “reclosers” in key substations that can be operated remotely from the company dispatch center. That equipment provides operators the ability to restore power more quickly and efficiently than if a crew was needed to investigate the problem. Those devices will be installed on 28 circuits in four substations, including a substation in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County; a substation in Kittanning, Armstrong County; a substation in Uniontown, Fayette County; and a substation in Washington, Washington County
  • Installing remote-controlled switches on higher-voltage distribution circuits at a cost of about $3.6m to allow automatic and remote switching to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs
  • Spending about $2.7m to install new fuses, reclosers, and wire on about 60 overhead lines, particularly at points where distribution circuits branch into smaller sections
  • Rebuilding portions of 56 distribution circuits at a cost of about $2.4m, including replacing electrical components such as switches, cross arms, transformers, reclosers, capacitors, and insulators to help prevent outages caused by equipment issues
  • Spending $2m to replace damaged insulators, cross arms, and wire on higher voltage lines that feed distribution substations
  • Replacing underground residential distribution cable with insulated, corrosion-resistant cable to help prevent outages and reduce the time necessary to locate and repair faults beneath the ground
  • Replacing batteries in 15 distribution substations throughout West Penn Power’s service area at a cost of about $230,000 to provide back-up power for controls and relays during outages
  • Installing new arrestors to protect transformers from lightning damage in 29 substations throughout West Penn Power’s service area at a cost of $120,000

The company said that the LTIIP work is included in the $235m in infrastructure projects for 2017 previously announced to help enhance service reliability for customers in West Penn Power’s 24-county service area.

Met-Ed

Separately on Aug. 8, FirstEnergy said that Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed) is completing work on about $15.9m of electric system projects as part of a targeted 2017 program designed to reduce the number and duration of power outages experienced by Met-Ed’s 560,000 customers.

That work also involves installing enhanced protective devices on wires and poles; rebuilding electric lines – including replacing damaged insulators, poles, cross arms and wire; and installing automated and remote control devices, FirstEnergy said.

The projects are part of Met-Ed’s 2016-2020 LTIIP approved by the PUC, the company said, adding that that program focuses on distribution infrastructure enhancement projects in the Met-Ed service area, with a total of $77m being spent through 2020 on system improvements.

FirstEnergy said that the LTIIP projects slated for completion this year in the Met-Ed service area include:

  • Replacing more than 750 porcelain protective switches on poles and wires with new polymer devices; the switches – known as “cutouts” – automatically open when a system irregularity is detected, serving to protect the electrical equipment and limit the number of customers affected by an outage
  • Adding 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
  • Installing radio-controlled switches on electric circuits; those 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
  • Completing major line upgrade projects on 11 circuits
  • Replacing 12,000 feet of cable in underground residential developments
  • Installing more than 430 new fuses throughout Met-Ed’s service area
  • Replacing 360 wood distribution poles throughout Met-Ed’s service area

First Energy said that Met-Ed is expected to spend an additional $13m on similar projects in 2018.

Penelec

In another Aug. 8 statement, FirstEnergy said that Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) is completing work on about $14.5m of electric system projects as part of a targeted 2017 program designed to reduce the number and duration of power outages experienced by Penelec’s 590,000 customers.

That work also involves installing enhanced protective devices on wires and poles; rebuilding electric lines – including replacing damaged insulators, poles, cross arms and wire; and installing automated and remote control devices, FirstEnergy said.

The projects are part of Penelec’s 2016-2020 LTIIP approved by the PUC, the company said, adding that that program focuses on distribution infrastructure enhancement projects in the Penelec service area, with a total of $70m being spent through 2020 on system improvements.

The company noted that the LTIIP projects slated for completion this year in the Penelec service area include:

  • Replacing porcelain protective switches on poles and wires with new polymer devices at a cost of about $1.2m
  • Spending about $3m to replace circuit breakers and insulators in 30 substations across the Penelec footprint
  • Spending almost $1m to upgrade equipment and replace or refurbish electrical vaults in Penelec’s three underground networks in Erie, Altoona, Johnstown
  • Installing radio-controlled switches on electric circuits at a cost of about $3.5m

FirstEnergy said that Penelec is expected to spend an additional $16m on similar projects in 2018.

JCP&L

FirstEnergy on Aug. 3 said that Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has completed circuit upgrade projects in more than 50 municipalities to benefit nearly 63,000 customers. Those upgrades are part of JCP&L’s plan to invest $359m this year on infrastructure projects and other work to enhance service reliability across its 13-county service area, FirstEnergy said.

The enhancements included installing fault indicators and reclosers that automatically help pinpoint problem areas, allowing the majority of customers to be isolated from the outage location and restored more quickly as repairs are made to where the damage occurred, FirstEnergy said.

The projects also included the installation of more resilient fuses, animal guards and lightning protection devices; replacing wire; and enhanced tree trimming efforts, the company said.

FirstEnergy noted that circuit upgrades were completed in the counties of Burlington, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.