American Transmission Systems, Inc. (ATSI), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has begun upgrading 20 miles of a high-voltage power line in Belmont and Harrison counties in Ohio to strengthen the regional transmission system. The third phase of a larger 64-mile project, the rebuilt 138-kilovolt line will enhance service reliability, improve system resiliency and accommodate increasing customer demand for electricity in the future.
The 20 miles of line span the city of St. Clairsville, Richland Township, Mead Township, Pultney Township and Wheeling Township in Belmont County and Athens Township in Harrison County. The work will include replacing wood pole structures with new steel monopoles and installing larger wires that can carry more electrical load and accommodate greater customer demand. The work is expected to be completed in late 2024.
"This new, modern infrastructure is expected to help improve system performance and reduce the number of service interruptions customers experience," said Carl Bridenbaugh, FirstEnergy's vice president of Transmission. "The work will also help us to meet the growing demand for safe, reliable power from homes and businesses in eastern Ohio in the future."
The 20-mile segment is the southernmost portion of a larger 64-mile line upgrade between a substation in Columbiana County and a substation in Belmont County, Ohio. The upgrade of the first 13-mile segment, located in the West Township area of Columbiana County and the August Township and Washington Township areas of Carroll County, was completed in January. Another 9-mile segment in the Perry Township area of Carroll County and the Rumley Township and Archer Township areas of Harrison County was completed in May.
The project is part of Energizing the Future, an ongoing 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. Through 2022, FirstEnergy had invested more than $10 billion in the Energizing the Future initiative.
ATSI provides transmission services in Ohio and in the western portion of Pennsylvania and owns or maintains more than 8,100 miles of transmission lines, substations and other facilities.