FirstEnergy’s Ohio Electric Companies Complete Proactive Work to Help Enhance Service Reliability for Customers Through Summer Season
Company offers tips for customers to manage rising temperatures and energy costs
AKRON, Ohio, June 8, 2023 -- With the hot summer months likely to produce higher electric usage and potentially severe weather, FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) Ohio subsidiaries – Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison – recently completed inspections and conducted equipment maintenance expected to enhance service reliability for customers. The work builds upon vast tree-trimming work and equipment and technology upgrades FirstEnergy has made to its electric grid in Ohio over the past three years to help prevent power outages and reduce many interruptions to just a brief or momentary outage.
"Our commitment to continuous improvement will help us continue to deliver the safe and reliable electricity our customers rely on every day," said Pat Mullin, acting president of FirstEnergy's Ohio operations. "Since 2020, FirstEnergy has invested more than $400 million in new automated equipment and technology across its Ohio service area to help keep power flowing to our customers in all types of weather conditions."
Proactive equipment inspections include using thermovision cameras to capture infrared images of electrical equipment, helping detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. The infrared technology shows heat on a color scale, with brighter colors or "hot spots" indicating areas that could need repairs. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.
Other utility work being done by FirstEnergy utility personnel includes inspecting electrical equipment, like transformers, located along neighborhood power lines and within substations to ensure the infrastructure is ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning use.
In addition, FirstEnergy's Ohio electric companies have collectively invested more than $35 million to trim trees along nearly 10,000 miles of power lines this year. This program will help keep power flowing to customers by helping to prevent tree-related outages, such as those that can occur during the summer storm season. The companies' programs remain on track for completion in the fall.
Helicopter patrols have also completed inspections of more than 7,200 miles of transmission lines owned by American Transmission Systems, Inc. (ATSI), a FirstEnergy subsidiary, across the company's Ohio footprint. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections are addressed as quickly as possible.
With the summer storm season also comes higher-than-usual temperatures and rising energy costs. Customers can take steps to beat the heat while also managing their electricity bill this summer. The following tips can help customers use electricity wisely during this period of high demand:
- Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3% less energy during the summer.
- Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.
- During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.
- Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping to prevent hot air from sneaking into your home.
- Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.
- Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner must do.
- Payment arrangements and assistance programs are available for customers who need help with their electric bills. For more information, visit firstenergycorp.com/billassist
The Illuminating Company serves 755,000 customers across Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. Connect with The Illuminating Company at www.illuminatingcompany.com, on Twitter @IlluminatingCo and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IlluminatingCo.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, 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 approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of FirstEnergy utility personnel installing new equipment and conducting inspections are available for download on Flickr. A video of utility personnel conducting a thermovision inspection and explaining the work can be found on the company's YouTube channel.
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