Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed equipment upgrades at a substation in Jefferson County, West Virginia, to enhance service reliability and help meet high winter demand for electricity for about 2,200 customers in the Ranson and Charles Town areas.
The centerpiece of the $1 million project was replacing one of the substation's two distribution transformers with a larger unit, which increased the system's capacity without having to expand the substation's footprint or build new power lines. Completed in October, the substation upgrade also included replacing existing fuses with a new circuit breaker to safeguard the new transformer when irregularities are detected on the electric system.
"Expanding the capacity of this substation was needed because this area of Jefferson County often experiences increased electric usage in the winter due to most customers heating their homes with electricity," said James A. Sears, Jr., vice president of Potomac Edison. "The transformers in our substation were operating at or near their capacities, so this new equipment is a welcome upgrade that will help our customers stay warm in the winter, enhance their service reliability, and position our system to meet the demands of a growing area."
Substation construction crews used a heavy-duty crane to remove the old transformer through a temporary opening in the substation fence to avoid nearby power lines. After weeks of preparation work, the transformer contractor placed the new transformer into place on its pad. The new transformer measures about 19 feet long by 12 feet wide by 12 feet tall, and weighs more than 83,000 pounds.
The project is one of numerous distribution and transmission infrastructure projects totaling $128 million that FirstEnergy Corp. expects to complete in 2016 for the Potomac Edison service area.