$11 Million in Additional Reliability Work Underway in Penelec Service Area for 2016

Projects Expected to Help Reduce Number and Duration of Power Outages
Penelec

ERIE, Pa., July 7, 2016 -- Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) is beginning work on approximately $11 million of additional electric system projects for 2016 to enhance service reliability for its 600,000 customers. 

The work includes installing more durable polymer protective devices on wires and poles, replacing or rehabilitating electric lines, adding other special equipment, and installing automated and remote control devices – all designed to help reduce the number and duration of service interruptions.

These projects were identified in Penelec's five-year Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan that was approved earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.  Ultimately, this special program will result in an additional $56 million being spent through 2020 on targeted distribution infrastructure enhancement projects in the Penelec area.

"The work is designed to benefit customers by complementing the projects we already do each year to enhance the reliability of our electric system," said Scott Wyman, regional president of Penelec.  "Whether it's upgrading existing circuits or installing 'smart' equipment that can be operated remotely, our goal is to the make our system the best it can be when it comes to providing reliable service."

The scheduled projects in the Penelec service area in 2016 include:

  • Spending approximately $3.2 million to replace porcelain protective switches on poles wires with new polymer devices. The switches – known as "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 will be replaced on 68 circuits in Altoona, Clearfield, Dubois, Erie, Lewistown, Oil City, Towanda, and Warren.
  • Spending approximately $700,000 to add new connection points where circuits can be tied together, along with installing new sectionalizing devices such as fuses and automated switches, to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs. Much of the work in 2016 will occur in the Oil City area.
  • Installing radio controlled switches on electric circuits at a cost of about $820,000. These devices can be operated remotely from the company dispatch center, allowing operators the ability to restore power more quickly and efficiently than if a crew was needed to investigate the situation. This work will occur in Altoona, Dubois, Erie, Johnstown, Lewistown, Oil City and Towanda.
  • Rehabilitating three power lines in Phillipsburg, one in Erie, and one in Oil City, including installing new wire and other equipment, as needed, at a cost of approximately $2.1 million.
  • Replacing overhead wire, automated reclosing devices, transformers, fuses, and animal guards to help enhance overall customer service and reliability. This work will occur throughout the entire Penelec service territory and is expected to cost approximately $460,000 in 2016.

Penelec, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), serves approximately 600,000 customers in 31 Pennsylvania counties.  Follow Penelec on Twitter @Penelec and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PenelecElectric.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.  The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.

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Last Modified: July 19, 2017