FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries are upgrading a substation near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to an advanced design that will help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages for Pennsylvania Electric Co. customers in Jefferson and Indiana counties.
Crews are installing three new circuit breakers as well as smart technologies that can help shorten power outage restoration time and enhance system performance. Digital switching devices will give operators the ability to restore power more quickly and efficiently than if a crew was dispatched to the facility to investigate the situation. The estimated project cost is $6.9 million.
"The new facility is designed to help keep power flowing to our customers in the event one of our local transmission lines goes out of service due to weather, maintenance work or other disruption," said Scott Wyman, regional president of Penelec. "Through our Energizing the Future initiative, we're focused on modernizing our facilities with new, smart technologies that will boost the performance of our electric system and help prevent or shorten power outages."
FirstEnergy launched Energizing the Future in 2014, investing over $4.2 billion over the past four years on transmission upgrades primarily in its Ohio service territory. These projects resulted in transmission system reliability improvements that FirstEnergy is seeking to replicate across its Pennsylvania territory. FirstEnergy will build this project through its new transmission affiliate company, Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC (MAIT).
Through Energizing the Future, FirstEnergy has upgraded or replaced existing transmission lines, incorporated new, smart technology into the grid, and outfitted dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features. These upgrades are producing reliability improvements across the company's transmission system. FirstEnergy will continue these investments through 2021.