WILLIAMSPORT, Md., June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With the upcoming hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage along with the potential for severe weather, Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, has completed inspections and equipment maintenance across its western Maryland and Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia service areas to enhance reliability for customers.
Helicopter patrols have completed inspections on more than 1,300 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line circuits located in the Potomac Edison area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Potential reliability issues identified during the inspection will be prioritized and addressed.
On the ground, Potomac Edison personnel inspected the company's 212 substations earlier this spring and completed needed repairs prior to the summer. The inspections included using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with equipment. By identifying hot spots, potential problems can be addressed before a power outage occurs.
Crews also conducted inspections of distribution circuits, focusing on more than 600 line capacitors that maintain proper electric voltage on the Potomac Edison electric system. These devices are especially useful in remote locations because they automatically adjust voltage levels to accommodate changing system conditions.
"We proactively inspect and maintain our equipment to ensure system reliability to meet the increased electrical demand from higher air conditioning usage when the temperatures climb," said James A. Sears, Jr., FirstEnergy's president of Maryland operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "Our crews have safely and efficiently completed the necessary readiness work because they know our customers are counting on us to keep them comfortable during the summer."
Tree trimming is another key to preparing our system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Potomac Edison tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,400 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 1,500 miles by year end.
Summer readiness also includes focusing on employee safety by educating field personnel on proper safety procedures and precautions for working in hot weather. Ensuring employees know the signs of heat exhaustion and the importance of proper hydration, taking adequate breaks and scheduling work appropriately are some of the key areas for employee safety.
In addition to the work being done by company employees, summer also is a time when roofers, home builders, lawn service workers and other contractors work long hours. To help stay safe around electrical equipment while on the job, FirstEnergy offers important tips at www.firstenergycorp.com/contractorsafety.
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 on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Editor's Note: Photos of workers conducting thermovision inspections to enhance service reliability for Potomac Edison customers are available for download on Flickr. A video of thermovision inspections and explanation the work can be found on the company's YouTube channel.