NEW JERSEY – FirstEnergy has completed annual inspections and maintenance throughout its transmission system to help ensure reliability for customers ahead of the summer season.
The transmission system, which channels high-voltage power from generation sources to local lines serving towns and communities, serves as the interstate highway system of the electric grid. Coupled with similar work at the local utility level, the system-wide weather preparations help ensure reliable power is delivered to customers when demand for electricity is at its highest.
Much work has been completed to help prepare the transmission grid to meet summer demand, including:
- Comprehensive assessments of FirstEnergy’s transmission footprint, including inspection and maintenance along approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines;
- Helicopter patrols of high-voltage lines designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, or other equipment issues;
- Maintenance and inspection of transmission transformer cooling systems;
- Inspection of transmission mobile substations, which can expedite restoration in case of unplanned outages; and,
- Analysis of projected peak power flows to help ensure the grid is prepared for increased electricity demand over the summer season.
“Power outages on the transmission system can impact a very large number of customers, and it’s critical that we take these steps to plan for increased demand and rapidly-changing conditions that can be brought on by summer heat and storms,” said Carl Bridenbaugh, vice president of transmission at FirstEnergy. “This proactive approach helps ensure our entire transmission system is prepared for extreme weather this summer.”
In addition to equipment inspections and maintenance, crews have been trimming trees along transmission lines to help protect against tree-related outages this summer. To date, FirstEnergy has trimmed along more than 1,400 of the nearly 3,400 miles of high-voltage lines planned this year as part of its $70 million transmission vegetation management program.
The summer preparation work builds on extensive investments into the transmission system through Energizing the Future, FirstEnergy’s multi-year modernization initiative. Since the program kicked off in 2014, customers in the western part of FirstEnergy’s transmission system have experienced a 39 percent reduction in the number of equipment-related outages and 32 percent shorter-duration outages when they do occur. Similar results are expected as the program progresses eastward.
Through Energizing the Future, FirstEnergy has incorporated new, smart technology into the system, rebuilt or replaced aging power lines, and enhanced grid and cybersecurity, helping ensure a reliable and secure system more resistant to extreme weather events.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.