Potomac Edison Completes Inspections and Maintenance Prior to Summer Season to Help Enhance Customer Service Reliability
WILLIAMSPORT, Md., June 11, 2018 -- With the upcoming hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage, Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, has completed projects, inspections and equipment maintenance across its western Maryland and Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia service areas to enhance reliability for customers.
Helicopter patrols have completed inspections on nearly 1,400 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line circuits located in the Potomac Edison area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Potential reliability issues identified during the inspection will be prioritized and addressed.
On the ground, the inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with Potomac Edison substation equipment such as transformers and capacitors. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be handled prior to a power outage occurring.
"With daytime temperatures often reaching into the mid-90s and little relief from warm, sticky nights, our customers turn on their air conditioning to stay cool," said James A. Sears, Jr., FirstEnergy's president of Maryland operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "We proactively inspect and maintain our equipment to ensure system reliability to meet the increased electrical demand when the temperatures climb and customers depend on us to help them stay comfortable."
Potomac Edison utility crews also conducted inspections of distribution circuits, including transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning usage.
Tree trimming is another key to preparing our system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Potomac Edison tree contractors have trimmed about 1,000 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 1,500 miles by year end.
In addition to regular inspections and repairs, crews are finishing work on several projects designed to enhance the reliability of Potomac Edison's system in time for the summer. These projects include:
- Building a distribution substation in the Foxville area in Frederick County, Md., and constructing five miles of new distribution circuit that will enhance electric service reliability for about 1,200 customers in the Myersville and Wolfsville areas. Construction on the $4 million project began in January. The line work should be completed in June, with the substation finished later this year.
- Finishing work on a new $5 million power line and substation project under construction in Hardy County, W.Va., along State Route 259 that will enhance service reliability for about 2,200 customers in the Baker and Mathias areas. The project divides a 270-mile long circuit – the longest in Potomac Edison's service area – into three shorter segments and improves service to a nearby compressor station for a major natural gas supply pipeline.
- Proactively replacing 12,000-volt underground distribution cables in Frederick City with new equipment to enhance electric service for about 1,600 customers in the downtown area. Many of these electric cables were installed 40-plus years ago.
A team of Potomac Edison employees also recently conducted a readiness exercise to test the company's restoration process used to repair storm-related power outages. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.
For updated company information, including hot weather tips, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
In addition to the work being done by company employees, summer also is a time when roofers, home builders, lawn service workers and other contractors work long hours. To help stay safe around electrical equipment while on the job, FirstEnergy offers important tips at www.firstenergycorp.com/contractorsafety.
Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., serves about 265,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and about 140,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
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.
Editor's Note: Photos of workers conducting thermovision inspections to enhance service reliability for Potomac Edison customers are available for download on Flickr.
CONTACT: News Media Contact: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650