FirstEnergy To Install Automated Recloser Devices, Other Equipment at Substations

April 23, 2024
The upgrades to five local Erie County substations will benefit more than 8,000 Penelec customers.

FirstEnergy Pennsylvania Electric Company, a FirstEnergy subsidiary doing business as Penelec, is installing automated reclosing devices and other equipment in substations serving more than 8,000 customers in Erie County to help prevent lengthy service interruptions, particularly during severe weather.

"Substation upgrades play a major role in preventing power outages because they manage the flow of electricity to homes and businesses,” said Scott Wyman, President of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania Operations. “This important work is part of our Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan II, a $200 million initiative that will accelerate investments in our Penelec system over five years to help ensure continued reliable electric service for our customers."

The upgrades, which are part of Energize365, to five local Erie County substations at East Springfield, Erie City (west side), Fairview Township, Millcreek Township, Platea and western Erie County will benefit the communities in the regions. Many homes and businesses will also benefit from the installation of new, smart automated reclosing devices and help limit the frequency, duration and extent of service interruptions.

Automated recloser 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.
  • Are safer and more efficient because they often allow utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers instead of sending a crew to investigate.
  • Isolate the outage to that 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.

Additionally, batteries providing backup power for equipment during loss of electric supply, protective devices to safeguard sensitive components from lightning, and insulators are being installed in several substations. While some of the new equipment is operational, the remainder of the equipment is expected to be installed and operational by the end of 2024.

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