As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the durability and flexibility of its electric system, FirstEnergy Corp. is planning to invest more than $475 million in 2014 on service reliability infrastructure upgrades in its Ohio Edison service territory. This represents about a $233 million increase compared to what the company spent on reliability infrastructure in the region last year.
Major projects scheduled for 2014 include building new substations, starting construction on a new 100-mile transmission line, installing enhanced remote-control technology in multiple facilities, inspecting and replacing utility poles, and continuing tree trimming work, including a program to remove trees endangered by the Emerald Ash Borer.
"The infrastructure projects we've have completed in recent years have helped produce fewer service interruptions for Ohio Edison customers, and our goal with the 2014 reliability spending is to continue this positive trend," stated Randall A. Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison. "The infrastructure projects are designed to help maintain our system on a day-to-day basis to benefit customers now while helping prepare our system for future load growth."
Of the infrastructure investment in the region for 2014, more than $344 million will be for transmission-related projects built and owned by American Transmission Systems Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.
The various infrastructure projects are expected to provide both localized and widespread benefits to Ohio Edison's customers in northeast and central Ohio. Projects scheduled in 2014 include:
* Beginning construction on a new 100-mile 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield Power Plant along the Ohio River to the Cleveland area to enhance system reliability. It is anticipated that approximately $128 million will be invested in this multi-year project in 2014.
* Starting construction on a new $52 million transmission substation in the Massillon area and a new $38 million substation in Toronto, Ohio, to help enhance system reliability.
* Continuing construction work on a new 138-kV transmission line in the Springfield area to help enhance redundancy and provide additional system flexibility. It is anticipated that approximately $34 million will be spent on this multi-year project in 2014.
* Expanding the electric system to serve customers in the eastern Ohio shale gas region, including a new $4.8 million transmission line segment near Boardman to serve Pennant Midstream facilities.
* Installing remote-control equipment and breaker upgrades at substations in Portage, Mahoning and Trumbull counties at a cost of more than $1.6 million.
* Investing more than $18.6 million as part of Ohio Edison's ongoing tree trimming program to maintain proper clearances to help reduce tree-related outages. Some of the scheduled communities include Akron, Alliance, Ashland, Aurora, Barberton, Bellevue, Elyria, Girard, Lisbon, Lorain, Mansfield, Marion, Massillon, Medina, Niles, North Ridgeville, Ravenna, Sandusky, Springfield, Twinsburg, Warren and Youngstown. Overall, more than 5,000 miles of Ohio Edison distribution lines will be trimmed in 2013.
* Investing approximately $800,000 to proactively remove trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, particularly those that could fall on Ohio Edison equipment and result in service interruptions.
* Replacing wire and adding capacity to major circuits in Columbiana, Stark and Trumbull counties at a cost of $3 million.
* Completing a new $1.2 million modular substation in Bath Township to serve additional load growth.
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