Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has announced that its spend of approximately $60 million in 2013 is designed to further enhance the electrical system and reliability in its 34-county service area, primarily in north-central West Virginia. Major projects scheduled for this year include transmission improvements, building new distribution circuits, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing utility poles and ongoing vegetation management programs.

"The planned infrastructure projects are designed to help maintain our system on a day-to-day basis to benefit Mon Power customers now while helping to prepare our system for future load growth," said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy's president of West Virginia operations. "Whether it be installing new equipment at substations, replacing cables or spending on vegetation management, our ultimate goal is to continue to enhance the reliability of our system to benefit our customers."

Mon Power's 2013 enhancements are expected to have both localized and widespread system benefits to customers throughout the service area. Planned projects include spending nearly $7 million in a variety of transmission expansions and enhancements intended to increase the capacity and robustness of Mon Power's high-voltage transmission system. The scheduled projects include:

Installing a second transformer at the Miracle Run Substation to add capacity and improve reliability for customers in Monongalia County near Morgantown, W. Va. at a cost of more than $3 million.

Replacing equipment at the Weirton Substation to provide additional capacity in the Weirton area of Hancock County, W. Va. at a cost of more than $700,000.

Spending more than $1.1 million to replace electrical equipment identified during routine inspections of the transmission system to improve reliability throughout Mon Power's service area.

Continuing Mon Power's ongoing vegetation management program to trim trees and maintain proper clearances to help reduce tree-related storm damage. Some of the scheduled areas include Clarksburg, Elkins, Fairmont, Kingwood, Lewisburg, Morgantown and Parkersburg.

Upgrading equipment on distribution circuits throughout the service territory to enhance service reliability. The improvements – including installing new wire, cable and fuses – are expected to enhance the electrical system and reliability for Mon Power customers.

Installing equipment to help maintain proper voltage levels throughout Mon Power's service area.

Expanding the distribution system with an investment of more than $11 million to provide electrical service to new residential and commercial customers in north-central West Virginia.

Spending more than $3 million inspecting and replacing distribution poles in the Mon Power service area. This inspection process is conducted on a 12-year cycle in West Virginia. Inspections have begun, with replacement work scheduled to be completed by the end of fall.