Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has completed approximately $246 million in scheduled reliability enhancement projects for 2013, including constructing three new substations, rebuilding and upgrading circuits, inspecting and replacing utility poles and continuing vegetation management programs.

One of the key projects was completing the new Black River Substation in Lorain, which is expected to provide support for system load growth, including the new arc furnace built by Republic Steel.  This project also included removing transmission lines and an existing substation that ultimately will allow the city of Lorain to develop key lakefront and riverfront property.  Overall, the cost for this project is about $15 million.

Ohio Edison also built two new modular substations to serve areas of growing load in Montville Township in southeast Medina County and Brimfield Township in western Portage County.  The combined costs for these projects total almost $4 million.

Other projects included nearly $7 million in circuit rebuilds and upgrades that added automatic reclosing devices and replaced wire, crossarms, lightning arrestors, fuses, animal guards and spacer cable devices as needed, all of which are expected to help limit the frequency and duration of power outages for customers in Columbiana, Trumbull, Lorain and Medina counties.  

"The system-wide infrastructure enhancements we completed in 2013 helped reduce, on average, the number of outages our customers experienced compared to previous years," said Randall A. Frame, regional president, Ohio Edison.  "In addition, when an outage did occur it was, on average, for a shorter period of time.  Overall, these projects help us enhance day-to-day service reliability along with maintaining our system's capability to handle future load growth."

Highlights of other Ohio Edison 2013 reliability work include:

  • Completed approximately $22 million of vegetation management work along nearly 5,000 miles of electrical lines.
  • Re-conductored a 16-mi section of a 138-kV transmission line in Richland County at a cost of $19.8 million to enhance the transmission system.
  • Spent more than $9 million inspecting and replacing utility poles in the Ohio Edison service area.  More than 58,000 poles were inspected and about 2,500 replaced.
  • Installed more than $3 million in improved relays and computer control systems at substations in Akron, Cortland, Marion, Medina, North Fairfield and Warren to aid remote monitoring and operations.
  • Purchased 26 new vehicles at a cost of $5.5 million.

Also in 2013, FirstEnergy began offering a free smartphone app and text alerts for outage and account management, providing customers with more information and greater flexibility.
Ohio Edison serves more than 1 million customers across 36 Ohio counties.