FirstEnergy's Ohio Utilities File Proposal to Modernize Electric System and Prepare for Smart TechnologiesProjects Would Deliver Immediate Reliability Benefits
AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 1, 2017 -- FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) Ohio utilities filed a plan today at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) aimed at reducing the frequency and duration of power outages by redesigning and modernizing portions of their distribution system.
The plan outlines a three-year, $450 million investment in projects that will create a stronger distribution system serving customers of Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating and Toledo Edison. The projects will help restore power faster, strengthen the system against adverse weather conditions, and enhance system performance by giving operators the ability to monitor and react to issues on the grid in real time.
The proposed projects will particularly focus on redesigning certain distribution lines across FirstEnergy's Ohio footprint that have experienced power outages in the past. On average, FirstEnergy expects this work could reduce outages under normal conditions by as much as 30 percent or more, and speed restoration time by up to 25 percent on power lines targeted in the plan.
"Portions of our system were originally designed to serve hundreds of customers on single, standalone lines, meaning a single outage could leave many customers without power until repairs are made," said Steve Strah, President, FirstEnergy Utilities. "Our plan would allow us to isolate damage to a confined area and allow other customers along the line to be quickly restored by rerouting power from nearby lines. These investments will help us meet our customers' high expectations by reducing outages and restoring power faster across our Ohio footprint."
Beyond the immediate benefits to customers, the work is needed to support future integration of new, smart technologies as well as customer-driven applications such as plug-in electric vehicles and distributed energy resources. Projects include:
- Circuit ties – Help prevent or shorten outages by tying adjacent lines together and creating multiple paths for power to flow to customers.
- Reconductoring – Enhance reliability by installing larger wires that support greater power flows from multiple sources and increase a line's ability to withstand adverse weather.
- Reclosers – Allow grid operators to isolate an outage to the immediate area where damage occurs, which decreases the number of customers affected by an outage by allowing power lines to be divided into smaller sections.
- Data Acquisition Systems – Incorporate software that allows grid operators to remotely monitor and react to power grid conditions in real-time to help prevent outages and restore power faster.
FirstEnergy estimates that the cost of these projects would comprise about two percent of the typical residential customer's monthly bill.
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 online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
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(PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates; and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; other legislative and regulatory changes, including the new federal administration's required review and potential revision of environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, Coal Combustion Residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards programs, including our estimated costs of compliance, Clean Water Act (CWA) waste water effluent limitations for power plants, and CWA 316(b) water intake regulation; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to, the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to significant accounting policies; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; further actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, increase requirements to post additional collateral to support, or accelerate payments under outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees, and the impact of these events on the financial condition and liquidity of FirstEnergy Corp. and/or its subsidiaries, specifically FES and its subsidiaries; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and other similar factors. 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