GREENSBURG, Pa., Dec. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- West Penn Power is completing work on approximately $17 million of electrical system projects as part of its 2016 Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan, a multi-year program specifically designed to help reduce the number and duration of potential power outages experienced by the company's 720,000 customers.
The projects include installing enhanced protective devices on wires and poles, replacing or rebuilding electric lines, adding other special equipment, and installing automated and remote control devices.
"These projects benefit customers by complementing the work we already do each year to enhance the reliability of our electric system," said David W. McDonald, regional president of West Penn Power. "Our goal is to make our system the best it can be when it comes to limiting the number and duration of outages our customers experience."
West Penn Power's Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan was approved earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Ultimately, this five-year program will result in an additional $88 million being spent through 2020 on targeted distribution infrastructure enhancement projects to help reduce service interruptions in the West Penn Power service area.
Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan projects completed this year in the West Penn Power service area include:
- Spending approximately $3.5 million to install new electronic circuit breakers, or reclosers, on 26 circuits in substations near Houston and Washington in Washington County, and Vandergrift, Jeanette and Lower Burrell in Westmoreland County. The devices can be operated remotely from the company dispatch center, providing operators the ability to restore power more quickly and efficiently than if a crew was needed to investigate a problem.
- Installing remote-controlled switches on higher-voltage distribution circuits at 45 locations both in substations and on overhead lines throughout West Penn Power's service area at a cost of about $3 million. The new controls allow automatic and remote switching to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs, and are engineered to shorten the duration of outages and allow for large blocks of customers to be more quickly restored.
- Spending about $2.7 million to install new fuses, wire and other equipment on more than 80 overhead circuits throughout West Penn Power's service area, particularly at points where distribution circuits branch into smaller sections. The new equipment can automatically sense system irregularities and stop the flow of electricity, helping to limit the scope of outages and reduce the duration.
- Rebuilding portions of 38 distribution circuits at a cost of about $2.5 million, including replacing electrical components such as switches, cross arms, transformers, capacitors and insulators to help prevent outages caused by equipment issues throughout West Penn Power's service area. The work also included the installation of animal guards.
- Replacing underground residential distribution cable with insulated, corrosion-resistant cable to help prevent outages and reduce the time necessary to locate and repair faults beneath the ground. This year, about 1.0 miles of underground distribution cable was replaced in Quail Acres in Washington County at a cost of about $440,000. Approximately $100,000 also is expected to be spent to install a new underground line into Saybrook Village near Greensburg as part of a multi-year initiative to replace underground cable throughout the housing development.
West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), serves about 720,000 customers in 23 Pennsylvania counties. Follow West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Power and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestPennPower.
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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the risks and uncertainties at the Competitive Energy Services (CES) segment, including FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. and its subsidiaries and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, related to continued depressed wholesale energy and capacity markets, and the viability and/or success of strategic business alternatives, such as potential CES generating unit asset sales, the potential conversion of the remaining generation fleet from competitive operations to a regulated or regulated-like construct or the potential need to deactivate additional generating units; the risks and uncertainties associated with a lack of viable alternative strategies regarding the CES segment, thereby causing FES to seek protection under the bankruptcy laws and the losses, liabilities and claims arising from such bankruptcy proceeding; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, Coal Combustion Residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards programs, including our estimated costs of compliance, Clean Water Act (CWA) waste water effluent limitations for power plants, and CWA 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such initiatives or rulemakings could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of older regulated and competitive units, including the impact on vendor commitments, such as long-term fuel and transportation agreements, and as it relates to the reliability of the transmission grid, the timing thereof; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units and any capacity performance charges associated with unit unavailability; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to, the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments, such as long-term fuel and transportation agreements; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our cash flow improvement plan and other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; 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changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system that may compromise our generation, transmission and/or distribution services and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information regarding our business, employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, business partners and other individuals in our data centers and on our networks; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and other similar factors. 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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.