Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is completing upgrades to its electric system in the area that are expected to enhance electric service reliability for 193,000 customers in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. The work includes installing more than 500 new utility poles and replacing 11 miles of existing power lines with thicker, more durable wire designed to withstand severe weather elements and tree debris. The work includes the creation of additional circuit ties, where adjacent distribution lines are interconnected so power can be re-routed to customers from another source if a line is damaged, resulting in faster power restoration.
Customers also will benefit from installation of more than 20 new automated reclosing devices that can help restore power to customers within seconds in the event of a power outage. These electrical devices allow utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers rather than sending a crew to investigate, which is especially helpful in rural or hard-to-access areas.
"We are committed to providing the highest quality of electric service to the communities we serve," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Ohio Edison and Penn Power. "This work to modernize our distribution system is necessary to meet the growing energy demands of our customers for many years to come."
Part of Ohio Edison's Grid Modernization Plan, a three-year investment approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to modernize the electric distribution system in Ohio, the work began in March and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. In addition to Ohio Edison's distribution system upgrades, the company plans to install about 72,000 smart meters in Trumbull County by the end of 2022, primarily in the Warren and Kinsman areas. Most of the installs are expected to begin early next year and continue through early 2022. This step toward a more modernized electric system will enable automated meter readings and may enhance the company's ability to respond to outages faster and more efficiently.
FirstEnergy's Ohio utilities, including Ohio Edison, have developed a comprehensive smart meter plan that was approved by the PUCO to identify several locations throughout the company's service area that will benefit from these efforts in the most cost-effective manner.