West Penn Power Conducting Inspections and Maintenance to Help Enhance Service Reliability for Customers Through Summer Season
Company offers tips for customers to manage rising temperatures and energy costs
GREENSBURG, Pa., June 8, 2023 -- With the hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage and potentially severe weather, West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, is completing inspections and conducting proactive equipment maintenance in its 24-county western and central Pennsylvania service area to help enhance service reliability for customers.
"We proactively inspect and maintain our equipment to help ensure our system is prepared for increased electrical demand when temperatures soar," said Scott Wyman, president of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania operations. "These important steps help to minimize the length and impact of service interruptions should summer storms cause power outages."
West Penn Power crews are wrapping up inspections of its local energy delivery system to ensure electrical equipment is ready to perform reliably with elevated summer electrical demand, typically due to air conditioning usage.
Substation electricians use thermovision cameras during summer-readiness inspections to capture infrared images, helping to detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.
In addition, helicopter patrols have completed inspections of more than 1,700 miles of power lines owned by West Penn Power and Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCo), a FirstEnergy transmission subsidiary, located in the West Penn Power area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections will be addressed.
West Penn Power is also trimming trees in communities across its service area. Maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment can help reduce the frequency and duration of tree-related power outages, especially those associated with severe weather. Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed along about 2,140 miles of power lines in the West Penn Power service area and remain on schedule to complete an additional 2,560 miles of work by year end.
West Penn Power employees recently participated in an annual emergency preparedness drill to practice restoration processes and review storm-management tools critical to safely and quickly getting the lights back on following severe weather. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.
With the summer storm season also comes higher-than-usual temperatures and rising energy costs. Customers can take steps to beat the heat while also managing their electricity bill this summer. The following tips can help customers use electricity wisely during this period of high demand:
- Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3% less energy during the summer.
- Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.
- During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.
- Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping to prevent hot air from sneaking into your home.
- Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.
- Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner must do.
- Payment arrangements and assistance programs are available for customers who need help with their electric bills. For more information, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/billassist.
West Penn Power serves approximately 737,000 customers in 24 counties within central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Follow West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Power and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestPennPower.
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 on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Editor's Note: Photos of workers conducting thermovision inspections to enhance service reliability for FirstEnergy 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: News Media Contact: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650; Investor Contact: Irene Prezelj, (330) 384-3859