FirstEnergy Corp. invested approximately $690 million in 2014 in the Ohio Edison service area on reliability infrastructure projects and other transmission- and distribution-related work, including building new transmission lines, new substations, and installing remote-control equipment to help reduce the number and duration of power outages.
More than $581 million of the total was spent on transmission-related projects owned by American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.
"We expect the results will show that in 2014 Ohio Edison performed better than the service reliability standards established by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which we largely attribute to the work we have done to make our system more robust," said Randall A. Frame, regional president, Ohio Edison. "The infrastructure projects we completed in 2014, and in previous years, are making a difference when it comes to reducing the number of outages our customers might experience."
Some of the key FirstEnergy projects in Ohio Edison's northeast and central Ohio service area in 2014 include:
- Completing a new 60-mile, 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Springfield to Delaware to help enhance redundancy and provide additional system flexibility for a growing area. The cost of the project was approximately $36 million.
- Continuing construction on a new 100-mile, 345-kV transmission line from FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield Power Plant along the Ohio River to northeast Ohio to enhance system reliability. Approximately $128 million was spent on this project in 2014, and it is expected to be operational by the summer of 2015.
- Continuing construction on a new transmission substation in the Massillon area, including the delivery of two massive 233-ton transformers. Nearly $30 million was invested in this project in 2014, and it is expected to be operational by the summer of 2015.
- Expanding the electric system to serve customers in the eastern Ohio shale gas region, including a new $3.6 million transmission line near Boardman to serve Pennant Midstream facilities and performing $3 million in substation upgrades to support shale-driven electrical load in Carroll and Columbiana counties.
- Completing a new $3.4 million modular substation in Bath Township and breaking ground on a similar facility in West Akron to serve additional load growth.
- Installing remote-control equipment and breaker upgrades at substations in Portage, Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties at a cost of more than $1.6 million.
- Spending more than $8 million inspecting and replacing distribution poles in the Ohio Edison service area. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. More than 59,000 utility poles were inspected in 2014, with more than 3,800 replaced or reinforced.
- Trimming trees on the distribution system to maintain proper clearances along nearly 5,000 miles of power lines at a cost of more than $19 million.
Planning also is continuing for additional projects that are expected to be completed in 2015, including new substations, transmission lines and circuit upgrades.
In 2014, Ohio Edison made it easier for customers to check the progress of service restoration efforts when they experience a power outage. The company's 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, Ohio Edison customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair, and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work.
Ohio Edison customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive billing reminders, weather alerts in advance of major storms, and updates on scheduled or extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts.