Akron, Ohio (May 3, 2021) — Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is completing modernization work in Summit and Portage counties to help prevent power outages and provide more flexibility in restoring power faster. The work includes installation of new, automated equipment and technology in substations and along power lines serving more than 30,000 customers in parts of Macedonia, Twinsburg, Northfield, Streetsboro and nearby areas.
“The work we’re doing across the greater Macedonia area will provide new technology and backup power lines for thousands of our customers and reduce many power interruptions to just a brief or momentary outage,” said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Ohio Edison and Penn Power. “These upgrades will be particularly beneficial during severe weather events that often cause equipment damage that is out of our control.”
Utility personnel are upgrading electrical equipment in three Summit County substations as well as modernizing the power lines that deliver electric service to customers from those facilities. Hundreds of homes and businesses in the area will benefit from the installation of more than 30 new automated reclosing devices in the substations and along the power lines that will help limit the frequency, duration and scope of service interruptions.
These electrical devices work like a circuit breaker in a home that shuts off power when trouble occurs, with the added benefit of automatically reenergizing a substation or power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers. This technology is safer and more efficient because it often allows utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers rather than sending a crew to investigate.
If the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment, it will isolate the outage to that area and limit the total number of affected customers. The device’s smart technology will quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration. The new technology is being installed along Ledge, Milton and North Bedford roads in Macedonia because customers in these areas have previously experienced tree-related outages during severe weather and will likely benefit from the automated devices.
Additional power lines that tie together existing circuits are being constructed to provide more flexibility in restoring outages due to events such as storms and vehicle accidents. The new power lines – designed to better withstand tree debris and severe weather – will help reduce the length and overall number of customers impacted during an outage by switching them to a backup line for faster service restoration.
Lastly, more than 50 capacitor banks are being installed to help ensure all customers served by a single power line receive the same flow of safe, reliable power by evenly distributing electricity down the line. These devices are expected to reduce energy usage for customers served near the beginning of a power line because they will benefit from lower power voltages being fed into their homes or businesses.
This year’s work builds upon system upgrades that were completed last year in the greater Macedonia area, including the installation of 30 automated reclosing devices, 15 capacitor banks and construction of new power lines. Customers in areas where work has been completed have experienced fewer and shorter power outages. In more complex outage scenarios, like when equipment is damaged by severe weather or a vehicle accident, average restoration times have improved by a full hour.
Additional work is planned across the region as part of the company’s three-year portfolio of grid modernization work that began last year and wraps up in 2022.