FirstEnergy Corp. has nearly completed construction of a new transmission substation in Elk County, Pennsylvania, that will include voltage-regulating equipment designed to reinforce the electric system and enhance service reliability for West Penn Power and Pennsylvania Electric Co. utility customers.
The $48 million project includes the installation of specialized voltage-regulating equipment that is designed to respond to real-time electrical conditions, boosting or reducing voltage as needed to maintain consistent levels on the regional transmission network. The substation work also includes installing capacitor banks, circuit breakers, transformers, communications equipment and a modular control building. About $33 million will be spent in 2015 on the project, which also includes looping two existing transmission lines into the new substation for enhanced system reliability and operational flexibility.
Located in Fox Township near St. Marys, the substation is expected to be completed and energized by early June. The project will benefit more than 95,000 FirstEnergy utility customers, including West Penn Power customers in Elk, Centre and Potter counties, and Penelec customers in Clearfield, Jefferson, Forest, Warren, McKean and Potter counties.
"Adding voltage support is just one of the things we do to maintain a reliable flow of power from one substation to another," said David W. McDonald, president of West Penn Power. "With many of our customers using specialized equipment that is sensitive to voltage fluctuations, our new equipment is a cost-effective option to help maintain consistent voltage levels throughout our system."
The project is part of FirstEnergy's plans to invest $205 million in 2015 in West Penn Power's area to help enhance service reliability. More than $62 million of the total will be spent on transmission-related projects owned by the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCo), a FirstEnergy transmission company.