Potomac Edison Completes Inspections and Maintenance to Help Enhance Service Reliability for Customers Through Summer Season

Prep work includes helicopter patrols, thermovision inspections and storm drill
Potomac Edison Substation

WILLIAMSPORT, Md., June 7, 2021 -- In anticipation of increased electric use along with the potential for seasonal storms, Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has completed inspections and equipment maintenance across its Maryland and West Virginia service territory to enhance service reliability for customers during the summer months.

Helicopter patrols have completed inspections of more than 1,300 miles of FirstEnergy high-voltage transmission lines located in Potomac Edison's service territory. 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, Potomac Edison personnel inspected the company's 212 substations earlier this spring and completed needed repairs prior to the summer. The inspections included using thermovision cameras to capture infrared images that can reveal potential problems with equipment. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be completed before a power outage occurs.

Crews also conducted inspections of distribution circuits, focusing on more than 600 line capacitors that maintain proper electric voltage. These devices are especially useful in remote locations because they automatically adjust voltage levels to accommodate changing system conditions.

"During the summer months, the demand for electricity rises along with the temperatures as our customers turn to fans and air conditioning to stay cool," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland operations. "It's important for us to proactively inspect our equipment ahead of time and take the necessary steps to ensure we can meet that demand and help our customers stay comfortable."

Trimming trees around power lines is also key to preparing for the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Potomac Edison will clear vegetation along approximately 1,670 miles of distribution and transmission power lines in its Maryland service area this year and 1,550 miles of lines in its territory in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as part of its $38 million vegetation management program.

This summer Potomac Edison will also continue replacing aging buried underground electrical cable in Maryland as part of a reliability improvement initiative currently scheduled to run through the end of 2022. The company expects to replace approximately 50 miles of underground cable this year.

In addition, Potomac Edison recently completed its annual storm restoration exercise as part of preparations for hurricane season and potential severe storms that commonly occur during the summer months. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.

For more information on preparing for severe weather, or for updates if storms do cause power outages, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages

As summer temperatures soar, Potomac Edison offers customers tips to help improve their energy efficiency at www.firstenergycorp.com/save_energy

Summer also is a time when contractors and homeowners spend more time outdoors completing projects. Important outdoor electrical safety tips are available at www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety

Potomac Edison serves about 275,000 customers in all or parts of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties in Maryland and about 151,000 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 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 and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editor's Note: Photos of workers completing summer readiness 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.


CONTACT: Will Boye, (301) 790-6420

Last Modified: June 7, 2021