The Illuminating Company Completes Inspections and Maintenance Prior to Winter Weather

Preparing Equipment for Colder Weather Helps Enhance System Reliability
FirstEnergy Winter Inspections

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 15, 2018 -- The Illuminating Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is preparing for winter by conducting inspections and equipment maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service area. 

Winter's cold temperatures can increase demand for electricity, and heavy snow and wind have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions.  Completing inspections and maintenance of equipment now can help enhance system resiliency to keep power flowing to customers when severe winter weather strikes.  

"Crews are readying our infrastructure for the rigors of winter as well as making certain our bucket trucks and other fleet vehicles can safely navigate treacherous roadways when the mercury drops and the snow flies," said John Skory, regional president of The Illuminating Company.  "The steps we take now in advance of potential severe weather conditions help enhance the service we provide to our customers."

The work includes inspecting heating equipment for substation components, such as capacitor banks, transformers and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers.  Some substations also include buildings that house remote-controlled relay equipment.  These structures will be winterized and have the heating systems checked.

Substation electricians also inspect batteries used to power relays that sense faults on the network and motors that automatically operate switches to isolate those problems, helping to prevent or reduce service interruptions.  Crews use special thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots invisible to the naked eye on equipment that could malfunction as customers crank up their heaters to combat the cold.

Company bucket trucks and other vehicles also are 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. 

Helicopter patrols also are completing inspections on FirstEnergy transmission lines located in The Illuminating Company 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 may 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. The Illuminating Company tree contractors expect to complete trimming along more than 2,100 circuit miles of electric lines in 2018.

The Illuminating Company serves more than 750,000 customers across Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties.  Follow The Illuminating Company on Twitter @IlluminatingCo and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IlluminatingCo.

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.

Editor's Note:  Photos of FirstEnergy's utilities' winter inspection and maintenance program are available for download on Flickr.

 



CONTACT: Chris Eck, (330) 384-7939

Last Modified: November 15, 2018