West Penn Power works to reduce service interruptions

Published on September 11, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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West Penn Power is installing fuses to reduce the number of service interruptions caused by severe weather, tree contacts, equipment issues, and other causes.

The company, which serves approximately 725,000 customers in central and southwestern Pennsylvania, plans to install thousands of new fuses on its distribution lines over the next five years as part of its $147 million Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan (LTIIP II). Of that total, approximately $21 million will be spent on the fuse work.

Fuses are protective devices made of polymer that automatically open when a system irregularity is detected. They protect electrical equipment while limiting the scope of an outage to a smaller section of the distribution line. The fuses will result in fewer customers are impacted by outages caused by trees, vehicle accidents, or equipment issues. In 2020, West Penn Power expects to install between 6,000 and 7,500 new fuses on distribution poles and wires throughout its service area.

“Our eventual goal is to install enough new fuses to separate distribution lines into smaller blocks of 30 to 35 customers,” John Rea, West Penn Power regional president, said. “Some longer circuits may be equipped with several hundred fuses, limiting the number of customers affected by an outage.”

In 2020, fuse installations will occur in numerous locations across West Penn Power’s service area, Allegheny County, Armstrong County, Butler County, Centre County, Elk County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Greene County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County.

West Penn Power is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy.