Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is wrapping up grid modernization work expected to enhance electric service reliability for more than 200,000 customers in parts of Trumbull, Mahoning, Ashtabula, and Columbiana counties.
Customers will benefit from installation of more than 20 new automated reclosing devices that will help limit the frequency, duration, and scope of service interruptions. The electrical devices work like a circuit breaker in a home that shuts off power when trouble occurs, with the added benefit of automatically reenergizing a power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers.
These devices allow utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers rather than sending a crew to investigate, which is especially helpful in rural or hard-to-access areas. This automated technology is safer and more efficient. To determine the best locations for these devices, utility personnel reviewed outage patterns across Ohio Edison's service territory and identified areas that would benefit from an automated reclosing device.
The projects also include replacing 11 miles of existing power lines with thicker, durable wire designed to withstand tree debris and severe weather elements. New utility poles were installed to support the electrical infrastructure and additional power lines were constructed to connect customers to an alternate circuit, allowing for more flexibility in restoring outages because of events such as storms or vehicle accidents. The work provides a backup power feed that will help keep the lights on for customers if wires or equipment on their regular line are damaged or need to be taken out of service.
"Severe storms have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires, and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Penn Power and Ohio Edison. "The completion of this work ahead of winter strengthens our electric system to help keep the power flowing safely and reliably to customers when they depend on it the most to stay warm and comfortable, and it will benefit them year-round."The work in this area began in March and is on track for completion by the end of the year. It is part of Ohio Edison's Grid Modernization Plan, a three-year investment approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to modernize the electric distribution system in Ohio. Similar grid modernization work is planned across the entire Ohio Edison footprint.