FirstEnergy's Power Plants Prepared to Operate Reliably through Winter Weather

Nov 24, 2015, 12:38 ET from FirstEnergy Corp.

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen generating stations owned by FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia today have completed comprehensive preventive maintenance work to help ensure they are well-prepared to deliver reliable operations throughout winter, when electricity demand is higher due to increased heating needs.  

"FirstEnergy's diverse generating fleet has consistently provided electricity to customers in recent winters when our region was tested with extreme temperatures," said Jim Lash, president, FirstEnergy Generation.  "In fact, our plants operated reliably when a new peak demand record was set in February 2015, and they are again prepared to deliver during winter conditions this year."

In addition to its three nuclear power plants, six coal-fired generating stations, and six oil and natural gas plants, FirstEnergy owns or controls electricity generation at nine hydro and wind facilities for a total capacity of nearly 17,000 megawatts across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois. Collectively, these assets produced nearly 24.5 million megawatt hours of electricity from July through September 2015, the hottest months of the year.  (One megawatt powers approximately 1,000 homes.)  Continued strong performance throughout the winter months will help ensure FirstEnergy is well-positioned to meet demand peaks such as those experienced during recent harsh winters.

To prepare for frigid temperatures and icy conditions, plant operators installed storm barriers to protect plant equipment from winter weather, set up heating elements that provide additional warmth to piping, provided temporary heaters in areas most susceptible to cold, added anti-freeze to equipment, and increased fuel stockpiles at coal-fired facilities. 

Throughout the winter, operators run water pumps more often to avoid freezing, keep oil flow within transformers more constant, and take precautions to prevent cooling towers from icing.  FirstEnergy will also stay in close contact with PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., the regional grid operator, to avoid scheduling plant maintenance work during periods of high electricity demand.

Winter preparations also were supported by a number of long-term reliability projects completed at FirstEnergy generating facilities this year.  A new, large transformer that connects Beaver Valley with the electrical grid was delivered to the plant this fall, where it will be maintained as a spare that can be quickly and efficiently installed should there be an issue with one of the two transformers in use.  In addition, the company spent more than $60 million on reliability upgrades at its Springdale natural gas plant in southwest Pennsylvania, ensuring the facility will generate affordable and low-emitting electricity for years to come.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company 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. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editor's Note:  Photos of some of the reliability projects at FirstEnergy's generating stations are available for download on Flickr.


SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.