FAIRMONT, W.Va., Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) utility, has inspected nearly 23,000 wooden utility poles this year for signs of wear, insect infestation or damage from motor vehicle accidents as part of the company's annual inspection program.  The company expects to replace or repair about 320 wooden utility poles this year, which would stretch nearly 2.5 miles if laid end to end.

A standard 40-foot wooden distribution pole typically is expected to last more than 50 years.  The most common utility pole is made from a Southern Yellow Pine tree and costs about $400.  Mon Power will spend about $1.4 million to inspect, replace and repair utility poles in 2016.

"Mon Power's pole inspection and replacement program is designed to help enhance service reliability for our customers," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia operations.  "While certainly durable, these poles are subject to damage from severe weather, falling trees, and traffic accidents.  Mon Power's utility poles are vital to the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses in our service area.  Over time, some poles need to be replaced or repaired to help ensure reliable operations."

Typically, specialized contractors perform the pole inspections.  As part of the process, a visual inspection is completed, along with checking the pole to determine if the interior is sound.  Poles also can be reinforced rather than replaced.  One of the most common reinforcement techniques is to snug a C-shaped steel beam against the pole, jackhammer the beam into the ground, and secure it to the pole with tight, metal bands.

All wood poles throughout the 34-county Mon Power service territory are inspected on a 12-year cycle.  Inspections began in January and continued through the summer, with pole replacements and repairs scheduled to be completed during the fall. 

Year-to-date, Mon Power has inspected nearly 23,000 wooden poles in and around the following communities:

  • Clarksburg –2,339
  • Elkins – 2,006
  • Fairlea – 2,923
  • Hinton – 2,496
  • Morgantown – 3,299
  • Sistersville – 4,526
  • Weirton – 1,255
  • White Hall – 3,884

Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.  Follow Mon Power on Twitter @MonPowerWV.  Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.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.



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