FirstEnergy finishes annual inspections, maintenance of transmission system as part of summer preparations

Published on June 23, 2021 by Chris Galford

© FirstEnergy Corp.

After readying its transmission equipment for summer weather and the associated reliability needs, FirstEnergy Corp. completed annual inspections and maintenance of power lines and substations this week.

“Power outages on the transmission system can impact a very large number of customers, and it’s critical that we take these steps to plan for increased demand and rapidly-changing conditions that can be brought on by summer heat and storms,” Carl Bridenbaugh, vice president of transmission at FirstEnergy, said. “This proactive approach helps ensure our entire transmission system is prepared for extreme weather this summer.”

The company has invested $70 million into its transmission vegetation management program, and so far this year, that has led to more than 1,400 miles of tidying up along high-voltage lines. Inspections and maintenance ran along approximately 24,000 miles of lines, complemented by helicopter patrols to look for damage. Transformer cooling systems and mobile subsystems were likewise assessed, and an analysis was conducted of projected peak power flows.

The transmission system is responsible for moving high-voltage power from generation sources to lines serving local communities. Its reliability keeps electricity flowing. FirstEnergy intends to modernize that system over the coming years as part of its Energizing the Future initiative, which will mix new technology with rebuilds or replacements of old power lines and enhancements to the grid and cybersecurity at large.

Since its launch in 2014, the Energizing the Future program has helped reduce recruitment-related outages in the western part of FirstEnergy’s transmission system by 39 percent and cause those that do slip through to be 32 percent shorter in duration.