American Transmission Systems, Inc. (ATSI), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is using helicopters and ground crews to replace more than 1100 insulators along a 68-mile transmission line corridor that runs through Carroll, Columbiana, Jefferson, Stark and Summit counties in northeast Ohio.
The work on the 345-kvt transmission line running northwest from a substation in Stratton, Ohio, to a substation in Wadsworth, Ohio, upgrades equipment to help ensure the power system remains reliable and resilient. Insulators separate high-voltage transmission lines from their grounded support towers and help maintain safe, consistent delivery of power while preventing the current from traveling through the structures.
FirstEnergy crews will perform a portion of the insulator replacement work between Wadsworth and New Franklin, Ohio, while the majority of the replacements will be handled by a contractor that carries linemen to the top of the 80-foot towers via helicopter. The linemen will be harnessed and lowered down onto each structure to install the new insulators, and the helicopter will also lower the new materials for the assembly and carry the old materials away.
This aerial method is faster and more efficient than deploying ground crews to each structure, which would require the creation of access roads for large trucks and equipment. ATSI began replacing the insulators in July and expects to complete the replacements on 376 transmission structures along the corridor by this fall. The transmission line has been deenergized until the work is complete but is not disrupting service to customers, who are being served by an alternate power feed.
"By proactively addressing equipment needs before they become a problem, we can help prevent potential power outages and ensure that our transmission system continues to serve customers safely and reliably in the future,” said Carl Bridenbaugh, FirstEnergy's vice president of transmission.
The project is part of Energizing the Future, a multi-year, US$ 7 billion initiative designed to upgrade FirstEnergy's transmission system with advanced equipment and technologies that will reinforce the power grid and help reduce the frequency and duration of customer outages. Since 2014, FirstEnergy has upgraded or replaced existing power lines, incorporated smart technology into the grid and upgraded dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.