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Toledo Edison Completes Inspections and Maintenance Prior to Winter Weather

Dec. 3, 2020
Preparing equipment for colder weather helps enhance system reliability.

To help keep the power flowing to customers through the cold winter months, Toledo Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service area. 

Winter's cold temperatures can produce increased demand for electricity, and heavy snow and wind have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions. Completing inspections and maintenance of equipment now can help to enhance system reliability when the snow begins to fly.

"Winter maintenance procedures for our infrastructure, combined with fleet maintenance designed to prepare our vehicles for winter operations, make a difference when the weather turns cold," said Rich Sweeney, regional president of Toledo Edison. "The steps we take now in advance of potential severe weather conditions help to enhance the service we provide to our customers."

The work includes inspecting heating equipment for substation components, such as capacitor banks, transformers, and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Some substations also include buildings that house protective relays, batteries and various control equipment. These structures will be winterized and have the heating systems checked.

Substation electricians inspect batteries used to power substation controls and protective relays that sense faults on the network and automatically operate circuit breakers to isolate those problems, helping to prevent damage to power lines and other power distribution equipment. Crews use special thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots invisible to the naked eye on equipment prone to overheating and malfunctioning as customers crank up their heaters to combat the cold.

Company bucket trucks and other vehicles are being inspected to help ensure safe operation during the winter season. Special emphasis is placed on the condition of tires and any air braking systems, which can freeze up if moisture is present. In addition, snow removal equipment is being checked. Plows are used to help crews gain access to substations, and to clear the work areas and sidewalks at company service garages and other facilities.

Helicopter patrols are completing inspections on FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the Toledo Edison area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection can be addressed.  

In addition, tree trimming throughout the year helps meet the rigors of winter operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Toledo Edison has already completed trimming along more than 2,000 miles of lines in 2020, with work along approximately 75 more miles to be completed by the end of the year.

Employee safety remains a priority during the pandemic, and cold weather can impact the health and safety of our workers. Toledo Edison's cold-weather operational procedures are reviewed with linemen, substation electricians, metermen and meter readers in advance of any frigid conditions. Toledo Edison personnel often take extra measures to stay warm when working in extreme cold to restore power after an outage. Driving safety is reviewed with the crews as winter often brings treacherous driving conditions. 

FirstEnergy's utilities also have 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, FirstEnergy utility 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. This information is also provided through the companies' web-based outage information and text messaging and alert services.

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