GREENSBURG, Pa., June 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With the hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage, West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, has completed projects, inspections and equipment maintenance in its 24-county western and central Pennsylvania service territory to enhance service reliability for customers.
Helicopter patrols have completed inspections on more than 1,700 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the West Penn Power 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, the summer readiness inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with West Penn Power substation equipment such as transformers and capacitors. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring.
West Penn Power utility crews also conducted inspections of distribution circuits, including 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.
"Our customers turn up their air conditioning to keep cool during sweltering summer weather," said David W. McDonald, president of West Penn Power. "We proactively inspect and maintain our equipment to ensure system reliability to meet the increased electrical demand when the temperatures climb and customers depend on us to help them stay comfortable."
Tree trimming is another key to preparing the West Penn Power system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. West Penn Power tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,300 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 3,800 miles by year end.
In addition, a team of West Penn Power and FirstEnergy employees recently conducted a readiness drill 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.
For updated company information, including hot weather tips, customers are urged to visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
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 more than 24,000 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 FirstEnergy customers are available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.