Oe Grid Mod Web 1

Ohio Edison Completes Upgrades to Local Power System in Columbiana County

July 8, 2022
Upgrade will benefit more than 8200 customers in the Salem area.

FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Ohio Edison recently completed grid modernization work in Salem, Columbiana County, that will help prevent or minimize the impact of power outages, particularly during the summer and winter storm seasons. The work includes the installation of new, automated equipment and technology in a substation and along power lines to help prevent service disruptions and restore power faster for more than 8200 customers in parts of Salem and nearby townships.

"While events out of our control, like severe weather or vehicle accidents, still have the potential to cause outages, the work we've completed in Salem will help limit them to just a brief or momentary disruption," said Ed Shuttleworth, president of FirstEnergy's Ohio operations. "This work has proven to be successful in other parts of the Mahoning Valley and thousands of customers have experienced fewer or shorter outages over recent years."

Utility personnel upgraded electrical equipment in a substation near Salem as well as modernized the power lines that deliver electric service to customers from that facility. Hundreds of homes and businesses in the area will benefit from the installation of five new automated reclosing devices in the substation and along power lines to help limit the frequency, duration and scope of service interruptions.

These 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 substation or power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers. This technology is safer and more efficient because it often allows utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers in lieu of sending a crew to investigate.

If the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment, it will isolate the outage to that area and limit the total number of affected customers. The device's smart technology will quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration.

Locations for these automated devices were determined based on a review of historical outage patterns across the Mahoning Valley to identify the areas that could benefit most from new technology.

Additional power lines that tie together existing circuits were also constructed to provide more flexibility in restoring service following outages. The new power lines will help reduce the length and overall number of customers impacted during an outage by switching them to a backup line for faster service restoration.

Lastly, voltage regulation equipment was installed at 12 different locations in and around Salem to help ensure all customers served by a single power line receive the same flow of safe, reliable power by evenly distributing electricity down the line. These devices are expected to reduce energy usage for customers served near the beginning of a power line because they will benefit from lower power voltages being fed into their homes or businesses.

This work builds upon system upgrades that were completed in Salem last year as part of Ohio Edison's initial three-year portfolio of grid modernization work. As a result of the work, thousands of customers in the area have seen their average restoration times improve by nearly half an hour in more complex outage scenarios, such as equipment damage from severe weather or a vehicle accident. Similar work is underway in Youngstown, Austintown and Girard and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Beyond the infrastructure upgrades underway in the Salem area, the company plans to complete tree-trimming work and equipment inspections this year along more than 500 miles of local power lines to reinforce existing infrastructure and minimize the impact of damage caused by storms.

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