WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Nov. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), is on schedule to complete 15 substation recloser replacements by the end of this year, part of a broader initiative to enhance service reliability for customers across its Maryland service area that began in 2019.
Reclosers are located at all Potomac Edison substations to protect the power lines that feed customers. Similar to a household circuit breaker, a recloser is an automatic, high-voltage electric switch that shuts off power when trouble occurs, such as when a tree branch contacts a power line. The device then resets itself and restores power when the trouble has been removed.
The newer model reclosers being installed include single-phase technology, which can isolate a problem on one portion of a power line while keeping electricity flowing through the remainder, minimizing the number of customers interrupted by certain types of outages. Potomac Edison personnel also can operate the newer model reclosers remotely to assist line workers in the field during restoration activities.
"By making this important upgrade to our equipment, we will help reduce the number of momentary and sustained power outages our customers experience and improve the efficiency of our system," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland operations.
The new reclosers will benefit customers in the Barnesville, Beallsville, Corriganville, Frostburg, Huyetts Crossroads, Jennings, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Poolesville and Union Bridge communities. Potomac Edison is installing 15 new substation recloser replacements annually at a cost of $1 million per year and is scheduled to replace 25% of its reclosers by the end of 2022.
The recloser replacement initiative is one of three reliability improvement programs currently scheduled to run through the end of 2022 and approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission last year. In addition to the recloser replacements, Potomac Edison is replacing approximately 50 miles of underground electrical cable each year and is undertaking enhancements to its distribution platform that will automatically connect customers in certain areas to alternate circuits in the event of outages.
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 and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.