AKRON, Ohio, June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With the hot summer months likely to produce higher electric usage and potentially severe weather, Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), recently completed inspections and conducted equipment maintenance expected to enhance service reliability for more than 160,000 customers across western Pennsylvania.
"Summer heat and humidity results in our customers using more fans and air conditioning to stay cool," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Penn Power and Ohio Edison. "By conducting proactive inspections and equipment maintenance, we help ensure system reliability to meet this increased demand for electricity."
Helicopter patrols have completed inspections on nearly 720 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line circuits located in the Penn Power service area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections are addressed quickly.
On the ground, proactive equipment inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images of electrical equipment that can detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. The infrared technology shows heat on a color scale, with brighter colors or "hot spots" indicating areas that could need repairs. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.
Other utility work being done by Penn Power utility personnel includes inspecting distribution circuits, such as transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning usage.
Penn Power and FirstEnergy employees also participated in readiness exercises and drills throughout the year to test the company's restoration process used to repair storm-related power outages. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.
In addition to the work being done by company employees, summer also is a time when contractors and homeowners spend more time outdoors completing projects. FirstEnergy offers important outdoor electrical safety tips at www.firstenergycorp.com/safety.
Penn Power is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp and 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 approximately 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of workers conducting inspections to enhance service reliability for FirstEnergy customers are available for download on Flickr. A video of utility personnel conducting a thermovision inspection and explaining the work can be found on the company's YouTube channel.