FirstEnergy’s Ohio Utilities propose distribution system modernization plan

Published on December 05, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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FirstEnergy Corp.’s Ohio utilities recently filed a plan with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to redesign and modernize portions of their distribution system to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

FirstEnergy expects that the three-year, $450 million investment could reduce outages under normal conditions by as much as 30 percent and improve restoration time by up to 25 percent on power lines included in the plan for customers of Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating, and Toledo Edison.

The proposed projects will focus on redesigning distribution lines that have experienced power outages in the past. Projects include installing larger wires to support greater power flow, installing recloses to enable operators to isolate outages as well as tying adjacent lines together and creating multiple paths through which power can flow.

The projects will also help prepare the system for smart technologies. One proposed project involves incorporating software to remotely monitor and react to real-time power grid conditions.

“Portions of our system were originally designed to serve hundreds of customers on single, standalone lines, meaning a single outage could leave many customers without power until repairs are made,” FirstEnergy Utilities President Steve Strah said. “Our plan would allow us to isolate damage to a confined area and allow other customers along the line to be quickly restored by rerouting power from nearby lines. These investments will help us meet our customers’ high expectations by reducing outages and restoring power faster across our Ohio footprint.”