Toledo Edison announces near completion of Ohio grid modernization project

Published on August 18, 2022 by Liz Carey

© Shutterstock

Toledo Edison, a FirstEnergy Corp. electric company, announced it was wrapping up smart grid upgrades in Lucas County, Ohio, that will minimize service disruptions, particularly during severe weather.

The upgrades include installing new, automated equipment and technology in substations and power lines. The project started in 2020 under the company’s portfolio of grid modernization and is on track to be completed this summer, the company said. The new smart grid will serve more than 59,000 customers in Toledo, Holland, Maumee, and the surrounding areas.

“Every project is customized and designed to address the particular reliability needs of each community,” said Ed Shuttleworth, president of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operations. “These upgrades will allow us to restore service to our customers faster following severe weather events as well as pave the way for a more robust power system that has advanced technology to support different types of energy sources in the years to come.”

The project includes electrical equipment upgrades in seven substations, modernizing 31 power lines, and installing 134 new automated reclosing devices in the substations and along power lines to help limit the frequency, duration, and scope of service interruptions the company said. The reclosing devices shut off power when trouble occurs and can automatically reenergize a substation or power line within seconds for certain outages. The company said the technology will allow utility personnel to automatically restore service in some disruptions instead of sending a crew to investigate.

Additionally, if the device senses a more serious issue, it will isolate the outage to that area and limit the number of customers affected. The device’s smart technology will pinpoint the location of the fault and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage, which will speed up the restoration of service.

The upgrade also includes 140 capacitor banks to ensure customers served by a single power line receive the same flow of safe, reliable power through even distribution, reducing energy usage.

The company recently filed a plan with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to expand the smart grid technology investments in a four-year, $626 million investment plan that builds on the system upgrades completed since the company’s Grid Mod I plan was approved in 2019.