With the upcoming hot summer months expected to produce higher electrical demand, FirstEnergy Corp. is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance in its Ohio Edison northeast and central Ohio territory that are intended to enhance service reliability.

Helicopter patrols are completing inspections on more than 4,100 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the Ohio Edison area.  The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not easily detected from the ground.  Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection will be addressed immediately.

Tree trimming is another key to preparing the Ohio Edison system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages.  Ohio Edison tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,500 circuit miles of distribution lines since January and expect to trim another 3,400 miles by year end.

On the ground, the summer readiness inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with Ohio Edison substation equipment such as transformers and capacitors.  By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring.

Other utility work being done by Ohio Edison crews includes inspecting distribution circuits, including 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.

"The heat and humidity of summer weather results in our customers using more air conditioning to stay cool," said Randall A. Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison.  "By proactively inspecting and maintaining our equipment, we help ensure system reliability to meet this increased electrical load when temperatures climb and customers turn on their air conditioners."