FirstEnergy Installs Automated Reclosing Devices And Electronic Controllers In Western Pennsylvania’s Distribution Substations

Feb. 29, 2024
Electrical equipment is upgraded in three substations in Westmoreland County, one substation in Clarion County and one substation in Washington County.

FirstEnergy Pennsylvania Electric Company (FE PA), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy and doing business as West Penn Rate District (West Penn), is installing automated reclosing devices and electronic controllers in distribution substations serving more than 26,000 customers in parts of Clarion, Washington and Westmoreland counties to prevent long service interruptions during severe weather.

Substation electricians are upgrading electrical equipment in three substations in Westmoreland County, one substation in Clarion County and one substation in Washington County. 

"Substation upgrades play a major role in preventing power outages because they supply the electricity that flows across our local electric system and powers homes and businesses throughout West Penn's service area,” said Scott Wyman, president of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania Operations. “This important work is part of FE PA's Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan II, a $147 million initiative that will accelerate investments in our system over five years to help ensure continued reliable electric service for our customers."  

Many homes and businesses will benefit from the installation of new, smart automated reclosing devices and electronic controllers to limit the frequency, duration and extent of service interruptions. While some of the new equipment is in service, the remaining equipment is expected to be installed and operational by mid-year 2024.

Automated recloser devices:

  • Work like a circuit breaker in a home shutting 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.
  • Are safer and more efficient as they allow utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers instead of sending a crew to investigate.
  • Isolate the outage to an area and limit the total number of affected customers if the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment.
  • Quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration.

Electronic controllers allow distribution system operators to monitor and remotely control substation reclosers which cannot operate automatically.

Communities to benefit from the upgraded equipment include:

  • Clarion County: Clarion, Strattanville, Williamsburg
  • Washington County: California, Centerville
  • Westmoreland County: Adamsburg, Alverton, Bridgeport, Darlington, Herminie, Laughlintown, Ligonier Township, Mt. Pleasant, Sewickley Township

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