Work Underway to Upgrade Electric System in Erie County, Pennsylvania

Upgrades will benefit more than 8,000 Penelec customers
Recloser Closeup

ERIE, Pa., April 18, 2024 -- FirstEnergy Pennsylvania Electric Company (FE PA), a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary doing business as Penelec, is installing automated reclosing devices and other equipment in substations serving more than 8,000 customers in Erie County. The work is designed to help prevent lengthy service interruptions, particularly during severe weather.

Scott Wyman, President of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania Operations: "Substation upgrades play a major role in preventing power outages because they manage the flow of electricity to homes and businesses. This important work is part of our Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan II, a $200 million initiative that will accelerate investments in our Penelec system over five years to help ensure continued reliable electric service for our customers."

Communities that will benefit from the upgrades to five local Erie County substations include East Springfield, Erie City (west side), Fairview Township, Millcreek Township, Platea and western Erie County.

Thousands of homes and businesses will benefit from the installation of new, smart automated reclosing devices that will help limit the frequency, duration and extent of service interruptions.

Automated recloser devices:

  • Work like a circuit breaker in a home that shuts off power when trouble occurs, with the added benefit of automatically reenergizing a substation or power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers.
  • Are safer and more efficient because they often allow utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers instead of sending a crew to investigate.
  • Isolate the outage to that area and limit the total number of affected customers if the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment.
  • Quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration.

Watch a video that explains how smart grid technology works, including reclosers.

In addition to automated reclosers, batteries that provide backup power for equipment during loss of electric supply, protective devices to safeguard sensitive components from lightning, and insulators are being installed in several substations. Some of the new equipment is already in service, and the remainder of the equipment is expected to be installed and operational later this year.

This work is part of Energize365, a multi-year grid evolution program focused on transmission and distribution investments that will deliver the power FirstEnergy's customers depend on today while also meeting the challenges of tomorrow. With planned investments of $26 billion between 2024 and 2028, the program will create a smarter, more secure grid that will meet and exceed reliability targets and accommodate electric vehicles, the electrification of homes and businesses and clean energy sources. 

Penelec serves approximately 597,000 customers within 17,600 square miles of northern and central Pennsylvania and western New York. Follow Penelec on X, formerly known as Twitter, @Penelec and on Facebook at

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving more than six million 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. Visit FirstEnergy online at and follow FirstEnergy on X @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editor's Note: Photos of substation automated reclosers and battery banks are available for download on Flickr.


News Media Contact: Todd Meyers, (724) 838-6650; Investor Contact: Irene Prezelj, (330) 384-3859

Last Modified: April 18, 2024