Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed significant substation upgrades and a new electric line interconnecting several substations in eastern Frederick County, Maryland, to enhance service reliability for about 5,400 customers in a high-growth residential and commercial corridor.
"We recognize the importance of enhancing our electrical infrastructure for our customers, and this reliability project was one of our top priorities," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland Operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "The upgraded electrical network should better serve our current customers in eastern Frederick, southwestern Carroll and western Howard counties, and accommodate future growth in an area quickly transitioning from farms and rural villages to bedroom communities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C."
The $6 million project includes a new 34.5-kilovolt (kV) power line linking substations in the New Market, Monrovia and Mount Airy areas and a massive new transformer in the substation near New Market.
The 4.5-mile line was built from the New Market substation on new and existing wooden utility poles to a substation near Monrovia and is designed to add redundancy to the system. A unique aspect of the project is that a section of the line runs underground for nearly a mile where it passes beneath Interstate 70 near Route 75 at New Market.
The project also features automated equipment that can detect faults such as fallen tree branches that cause power outages and immediately switch customers to an alternate source of electricity to help keep their lights on. In addition, specialized "smart" communications equipment also was installed in the substations to remotely monitor operations.