To better serve Mon Power's nearly 6,000 customers in Webster and surrounding counties, its employees have moved to a new service center in Cowen, West Virginia., that features more enclosed space to store utility trucks and equipment.
The move is due in part to the June 2016 historic flood which swamped the former service center building and outdoor storage yard with 5 feet of floodwater. Located in a renovated facility about 12 miles southwest of its former location, the new Webster Service Center is out of the flood zone near Cowen and sits atop a hill, 800 feet higher than the old building.
"Last year wasn't the first time our old service center flooded, so we decided it was the right time to move to a higher location," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia operations. "Our new facility is a spacious building that offers twice the amount of storage space than we had before. There is plenty of room indoors to park all of our trucks and store much of the materials we need to upgrade electric facilities and make repairs to keep the lights on for our customers."
Mon Power renovated the new location, which was used previously by another company to store records. Modifications included adding a new garage entrance in the side of the building tall enough to comfortably fit bucket and digger trucks, and reconfiguring the interior to accommodate new locker rooms with showers, restrooms, crew rooms and a large conference room.
"Winters are fierce in Webster County, and the ability to park all of our trucks inside a climate-controlled garage and out of the weather is a real benefit for our line crews and, ultimately, our customers," Kauffman said. "We can respond to outage calls more quickly when we don't need to scrape frozen windshields and remove snow from trucks."