FirstEnergy Corp. will spend nearly $100 million on infrastructure upgradesWritten by Danielle Stanton | | email@example.com
FirstEnergy Corp. will spend nearly $100 million on infrastructure upgrades this year to the Toledo Edison grid in an effort to cut outages for Edison’s more than 300,000 customers in Northwest Ohio.
The amount to be invested is $25 million more than last year and accounts for upgrades for the entire year, said Christopher Eck, senior communications representative.
“Work has begun on some of it already and some is ongoing,” Eck said. “We had an increase in funding across the board this year. It’s just good business sense to invest in the grid.”
This year’s polar vortex and subzero temperatures wreaked havoc with some equipment, causing failures, he said, so this type of investment will “keep things up to snuff.”
The company plans to break ground on a new transmission substation in Perrysburg, upgrade transmission lines and distribution circuits, inspect and replace overhead and underground circuits and utility poles as needed and continue with tree trimming.
“When combined with the dedicated work of our employees, these infrastructure projects have helped Toledo Edison earn the most reliable service record of any public electric utility in Ohio over the last several years,” said Linda Moss, regional president of Toledo Edison, in a news release. “These investments have paid off for our customers, reducing the number and length of service interruptions across our service area, and our plan for 2014 is to continue improving our system.”
The investment in upgrades improves the reliability of the utility and readies the system for future growth from new construction or expansion in the Toledo Edison service area, Eck said. When the snow melts, the grid will be ready to handle any future projects that come its way, he said.
“We’re investing in the grid over there for many years because we want to improve reliability and flexibility of the grid,” Eck said.
Last year, the company spent $12 million on a Fulton County high-voltage substation among other improvements, Eck said.
Of the $100 million in upgrades, $59 million will go toward transmission-related projects built and owned by American Transmission Systems Inc., a FirstEnergy transmission company. According to a press release, the $100 million upgrades include.
A 345 kilo volt substation in Middleton Township in Wood County, scheduled to be completed by 2015. Spending for the project in 2014 will be $18 million.
Continue work on a 48-mile transmission line connecting several substations to help strengthen the grid and increase flexibility in routing power at a cost of $14 million.
Add transformers at area substations to increase their capacity at a cost of more than $12 million.
Replace and upgrade equipment in several substations at a cost of more than $3 million.
Inspect and replace utility poles in Clyde, Fremont, Defiance, Green Springs, Swanton and Toledo. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. Inspections began in January, with replacement work scheduled to be performed throughout the year, costing more than $3 million.
Replace and upgrade electrical equipment and vault tops in the downtown Toledo underground electrical network. While underground facilities are generally protected from severe weather events, restoration of this equipment can take longer than restoring traditional overhead equipment.
Upgrade equipment on distribution circuits in Toledo, Northwood, Weston and Woodville.
Continue Toledo Edison’s ongoing tree trimming program to maintain proper clearances and protection against storm damage. Areas for work include Defiance, Maumee, Perrysburg, Rossford, Sylvania and Toledo.
A new 138kv transmission supply line to accommodate load growth in Troy Township in Wood County.
Relocation and upgrade to Toledo Edison transmission and distribution facilities for Toledo’s Dorr Street Widening Project and the Ohio Department of Transportation’s McCord Road Underpass/Roundabout Project in Lucas County.
FirstEnergy Corp is the parent company of Toledo Edison and owns 10 electric distribution companies that forms one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, said a press release. Customers are in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.
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