Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec) has completed scheduled reliability enhancement projects and upgrades for 2013 on major circuits that serve nearly 122,000 customers throughout Pennsylvania.  In addition, Penelec completed multiple reliability inspection programs by year end, including inspecting 254 overhead and underground circuits and nearly 43,000 utility poles. The work included $34 million of vegetation management along more than 7,000 miles of distribution electrical lines.

The circuit upgrades include adding automatic reclosing devices, replacing crossarms, lightning arrestors, fuses, animal guards and spacer cable devices as needed, which are expected to help limit the frequency and duration of power outages.  The work is part of an overall expenditure of more than $100 million in 2013 designed to help improve service reliability.

"These infrastructure investments and vegetation management programs are designed to enhance day-to-day service reliability now, along with maintaining our system's capability to handle future load growth," said Scott Wyman, Penelec regional president.  "Our commitment is to continue delivering the quality service our customers expect and deserve."

Highlights of other Penelec 2013 reliability work include:

  • Completing a nearly $1 million installation of new sectionalizing devices such as fuses and reclosers to help limit the scope of unplanned outages across the service territory.
  • Installing equipment to help maintain proper voltage levels. This is intended to benefit industrial and large commercial customers that operate large motors, drives and other machinery.

In addition, FirstEnergy implemented new tools to enhance communications with customers and public officials:

  • A free smartphone app and text alerts were created to improve customer information and service.