Upgrades will benefit more than 20,000 customers in the Mahoning Valley
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, April 25, 2022 — FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary Ohio Edison is completing grid modernization work in the greater Youngstown area to help enhance electric service reliability for residents and businesses. The work includes the installation of new, automated equipment and technology in substations and along power lines to help prevent power outages and restore service faster for more than 20,000 customers in parts of Youngstown, Austintown, Girard and nearby areas.
“Every project is customized and designed to address the particular reliability needs of each community where work is being done,” said Ed Shuttleworth, president of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operations. “While events out of our control, like severe weather or vehicle accidents, still have the potential to cause outages, we are taking steps to minimize the impact of service interruptions when they do occur, often limiting them to just a brief or momentary outage.”
Utility personnel are upgrading electrical equipment in five substations in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, as well as modernizing the power lines that deliver electric service to customers from those facilities. Hundreds of homes and businesses in the area will benefit from the installation of nearly 40 new automated reclosing devices in the substations and along power lines to help limit the frequency, duration and scope of service interruptions.
These electrical devices work like a circuit breaker in a home that shuts off power when trouble occurs, with the added benefit of automatically reenergizing a substation or power line within seconds for certain types of outages to keep power safely flowing to customers. This technology is safer and more efficient because it often allows utility personnel to automatically restore service to customers in lieu of sending a crew to investigate.
If the device senses a more serious issue, like a fallen tree on electrical equipment, it will isolate the outage to that area and limit the total number of affected customers. The device’s smart technology will quickly pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to help speed restoration.
Locations for these automated devices were determined based on a review of historical outage patterns across greater Youngstown to identify the areas that could benefit most from new technology.
Additional power lines that tie together existing circuits are also being constructed to provide more flexibility in restoring service following outages. The new power lines will help reduce the length and overall number of customers impacted during an outage by switching them to a backup line for faster service restoration.
Lastly, capacitor banks are being installed to help ensure all customers served by a single power line receive the same flow of safe, reliable power by evenly distributing electricity down the line. These devices are expected to reduce energy usage for customers served near the beginning of a power line because they will benefit from lower power voltages being fed into their homes or businesses.
The work underway is expected to be completed by the end of this year and builds upon system upgrades that were completed in the Mahoning Valley over the past two years as part of Ohio Edison’s initial three-year portfolio of grid modernization work. As a result of the work, thousands of customers in Trumbull County have seen their average restoration times improve by nearly half an hour in more complex outage scenarios, such as equipment damage from severe weather or a vehicle accident.
Beyond the infrastructure upgrades underway in the Youngstown area, the company plans to complete tree-trimming work and equipment inspections this year along more than 1,000 miles of power lines to reinforce existing infrastructure and minimize the impact of damage caused by storms.
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. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.