WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is preparing for winter by conducting inspections and equipment maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service area.
Winter's bitter temperatures typically increase demand for electricity, and snow, ice and wind have the potential to damage poles, wires and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions. Completing inspections and equipment maintenance now can help enhance system resiliency to keep power flowing to customers when severe weather strikes.
"Crews are readying our infrastructure for the rigors of winter as well as making certain our bucket trucks and other fleet vehicles can safely navigate treacherous roadways when the mercury drops and the snow flies," said James A. Sears, Jr., vice president of Potomac Edison. "Preparing now for potential severe weather conditions helps enhance the service we provide to our customers."
The checklist includes inspecting substation components, such as capacitor banks, transformers and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Substation control buildings which house protective relays and remote monitoring and control equipment will be winterized and have their heating systems checked.
Substation electricians inspect batteries used to power relays that sense faults on the network and motors that automatically operate switches to isolate those problems, helping to prevent or reduce service interruptions. Electricians view critical components through special thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots invisible to the naked eye on equipment that could malfunction as customers crank up their heaters to combat the cold.
Company bucket trucks and other vehicles also are being inspected to help ensure safe operation during the winter season. Special emphasis is placed on the condition of tires and air braking systems, which can freeze up if moisture is present. In addition, snow removal equipment is being checked.
Helicopter patrols also are completing inspections on approximately 1,400 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the Potomac Edison 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 inspection may then be addressed.
Tree trimming throughout the year also helps meet the rigors of winter operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Potomac Edison tree contractors expect to complete trimming along nearly 2,500 circuit miles of electric lines in 2018.
Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., serves about 257,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 137,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
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. Visit FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of FirstEnergy's utilities' winter inspection and maintenance program are available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.