Projects Expected to Help Reduce Number and Duration of Power Outages

AKRON, Ohio, July 20, 2016 -- Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power) is beginning work on approximately $12 million of additional electrical system projects for 2016 to enhance service reliability for its 160,000 customers. 

The work includes rebuilding electric lines, beginning engineering work on new substations, and installing automated and remote control devices – all designed to help restore service faster, along with minimizing the number of customers affected, if an outage does occur. 

These projects were identified in Penn Power's five-year Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan that was approved earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.  Ultimately, this special program will result in an additional $53 million being spent through 2020 on targeted distribution infrastructure enhancement projects in the Penn Power service area.

"The work is designed to benefit customers by complementing the projects we already do each year to enhance the reliability of our electric system," said Randy Frame, regional president of Penn Power.  "Whether it's upgrading existing circuits or installing 'smart' equipment that can be operated remotely, our goal is to make our system the best it can be when it comes to providing reliable service."

The projects scheduled in Penn Power's service area in 2016 include:

  • Spending approximately $5.2 million to add new connection points where circuits can be tied together, along with installing new sectionalizing devices such as fuses and automated switches, to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs.  Much of the work in 2016 will occur in the Clark, Cranberry, Mercer, McDowell and New Castle areas.
  • Rebuilding distribution lines in the Hartstown and New Castle areas and beginning engineering work on two new substations scheduled to be constructed in 2017.  The cost of these projects is $3.9 million and they are designed to enhance the flexibility and durability of the system.
  • Installing automated and remote control devices in the Clark, Cranberry and New Castle areas at a cost of $1.3 million.  This equipment allows dispatchers to pinpoint fault locations, reducing the time it takes to restore power after an outage occurs.
  • Replacing 170 wooden poles across Penn Power's service area to increase system resiliency.  This work will cost $800,000.

Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), serves more than 160,000 customers in all or parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Lawrence, and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania.  Follow Penn Power on Twitter @Penn Power, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennPower, and online at www.pennpower.com.

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 on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.



CONTACT:  Chris Eck, (330) 384-7939