Potomac Edison Prepares for Winter WeatherInspections and Maintenance Help Enhance Service Reliability for Customers
WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Nov. 12, 2020 -- To help keep power flowing to customers in the cold winter months, Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is preparing for winter in its Maryland and West Virginia service areas by conducting inspections and maintenance to help enhance system reliability.
Snow, ice and wind have the potential to damage equipment such as poles, wires and substations during the winter season, when demand for electricity is typically high. Potomac Edison is working to complete inspections and maintenance now to help preempt difficult repairs in harsh conditions and to keep power flowing to its customers in the months ahead.
"By actively preparing our power infrastructure and our fleet vehicles for potentially challenging winter weather, we will be better positioned to serve our customers and to ensure employee safety as the temperature drops," said James A. Sears, Jr., vice president of Potomac Edison.
Potomac Edison is inspecting substation components such as capacitor banks, transformers and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Substation control buildings that house protective relays and remote monitoring and control equipment will be winterized and have their heating systems checked.
Substation electricians inspect batteries used to power relays and motors that sense faults on the network and operate switches to isolate those problems, helping to prevent or reduce service interruptions. Electricians view critical components through special thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots on equipment that could malfunction as customers crank up their heaters to combat the cold.
Company bucket trucks and other vehicles are also being inspected to help ensure safe operation during the winter season. Special emphasis is placed on the condition of tires and air braking systems, which can freeze up if moisture is present. In addition, snow removal equipment is being checked, and Potomac Edison will place salt containers and snow shovels at each of its service centers for employee safety and operational continuity.
Since mid-October, helicopter patrols have been inspecting approximately 1,400 miles of transmission lines located in the Potomac Edison service area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection can then be addressed.
Tree trimming throughout the year also helps meet the rigors of winter operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Potomac Edison tree contractors expect to complete trimming along more than 2,600 circuit miles of electric lines in 2020.
Potomac Edison serves about 270,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 137,000 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 approximately 24,500 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 conducting inspections to enhance service reliability for Potomac Edison customers 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