NEW CASTLE, Pa., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) electric company, recently completed proactive equipment inspections and maintenance to reinforce the electric system against extreme heat and severe weather this summer. The work builds upon vast equipment and technology upgrades FirstEnergy has made to its electric grid in western Pennsylvania over recent years to help prevent power outages and reduce many interruptions to just a brief or momentary outage.
"We proactively inspect, maintain and upgrade our equipment to minimize the length and impact of service interruptions that are caused by elements out of our control, like severe weather," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Penn Power and Ohio Edison. "This year alone, FirstEnergy has invested more than $15 million in new automated technology and equipment across the Penn Power service area to help keep the power flowing to our customers in all types of weather conditions."
Helicopter patrols have completed inspections of nearly 750 miles of FirstEnergy high voltage power lines located in the Penn Power service area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections are addressed as quickly as possible.
On the ground, proactive equipment inspections include using thermovision cameras to capture infrared images of electrical equipment that can detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. The infrared technology shows heat on a color scale, with brighter colors or "hot spots" indicating areas that could need repairs. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.
Other utility work being done by Penn Power personnel includes inspecting distribution circuits, such as transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning usage.
Penn Power and FirstEnergy employees also participated in readiness exercises and drills throughout the year to test the company's restoration process used to repair storm-related power outages. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.
For more information on preparing for severe weather, or for updates if storms do cause power outages, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
As summer temperatures soar, Penn Power offers customers tips to help improve their energy efficiency at www.firstenergycorp.com/save_energy.
Summer also is a time when contractors and homeowners spend more time outdoors completing projects. Important outdoor electrical safety tips are available at www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety.
Penn Power serves more than 160,000 customers in all or parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania. Follow Penn Power on Twitter @Penn_Power, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennPower, and online at www.pennpower.com.
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. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of Penn Power workers completing equipment upgrades and inspections are available for download on Flickr. A video of utility personnel conducting a thermovision inspection and explaining the work can be found on the company's YouTube channel.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.