FirstEnergy Corp. expects to invest hundreds of millions in the Potomac Edison and Mon Power service areas in 2015 on distribution and transmission infrastructure projects. It will invest about $225 million in Mon Power's 34-county service area, primarily in north-central West Virginia.
Major projects scheduled for 2015 include transmission enhancements to reinforce the system and support economic growth, constructing new distribution lines, and inspecting and replacing utility poles and other equipment.
About $97 million of the budgeted total will be for transmission-related projects owned by the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCo), a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate.
"Each year we carefully review and plan transmission and distribution projects that will enhance service to our customers while also preparing our system for future load growth," said Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia operations. "In addition to new infrastructure projects, we also place great emphasis on equipment inspections to help reduce the number of outages our customers might experience."
Scheduled FirstEnergy projects in the Mon Power service area in 2015 include:
- Building a new 138-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that will support the natural gas industry and enhance electric service reliability for nearly 13,000 Mon Power customers in the Clarksburg and Salem areas. The 18-mile transmission line connecting substations in Oak Mound and Waldo Run is expected to be completed and operational by December, with about $38 million to be spent on the project this year.
- Constructing a new 138-kV transmission line and substation near West Milford, W.Va., to enhance service reliability for more than 14,000 Mon Power customers in Harrison, Lewis and Gilmer counties. The transmission line will be located in Harrison County and run about six miles between West Milfordand Craigmoor. The line is expected to be completed and operational by December, with about $16 million to be spent on the project in 2015.
- Investing more than $25 million to provide electrical service to new residential and commercial customers in north-central West Virginia, specifically the Interstate-79 corridor and Parkersburg region.
- Upgrading and replacing equipment on distribution circuits throughout the service territory at an expected cost of more than $8 million. The updates – including installing new wire, cable and fuses – are expected to enhance reliability for Mon Power customers. This includes continuing a project that began last year to improve reliability in Pendleton County.
- Inspecting about 75,000 distribution poles and replacing about 250 poles at an expected cost of more than $800,000.
- Investing approximately $1.4 million to replace transmission equipment identified during routine inspections of the electrical system to enhance reliability throughout Mon Power's service area.
In addition, Mon Power expects to have an additional $145 million in capital expenditures in 2015 related to generation.
FirstEnergy Corp. expects to invest about $128 million in Potomac Edison's service area in western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
About $22 million of the budgeted total will be for transmission-related projects owned by the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company (TrAILCo), a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate.
Scheduled FirstEnergy projects in the Potomac Edison service area in 2015 include:
- Expanding a substation in eastern Frederick County, including installation of voltage regulating equipment, to help reinforce the regional transmission system and enhance electric service reliability for about 125,000 Potomac Edison customers in Frederick, eastern Frederick County and western Montgomery County. The project is scheduled to be completed and operational in October, with about $20 million expected to be spent on the project this year.
- Replacing the wire on three transmission lines at a cost of more than $6 million, including about 14 miles of a line between Milleville and Old Chapel substations; three miles of a line between Bartonville and Stephenson substations; and two miles on another line between Stephenson and Stonewall substations. The work will help reinforce the transmission system in Jefferson County, W.Va., benefitting about 26,000 customers.
- Upgrading equipment on about 260 distribution circuits throughout Potomac Edison's service area at an estimated cost of $8.3 million. The enhancements – installing new wire, cable and fuses – are expected to reinforce the electrical system and enhance reliability for nearly 200,000 customers in Maryland and West Virginia.
- Enhancing the reliability of electric service for more than 5,000 customers in eastern Frederick County, southwestern Carroll County and western Howard County by constructing a new 3.5-mile electric line connecting substations in Frederick County. The cost of the project is expected to be more than $5 million and is scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of the year.
- Reconductoring five miles of an existing line with heavier wire to enhance electric service reliability for more than 1,400 customers in New Windsor, Md. The estimated $1 million project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
- Installing a new, one-mile distribution line in Clarksburg, Md., at an estimated cost of about $600,000 to provide additional capacity to serve new customers in the Cabin Branch subdivision and commercial area, which includes commercial property located south of I-270 at Route 121 in Montgomery County.
- Building a new distribution line in Hampshire County, W.Va., at a cost of about $300,000, to enhance service reliability for more than 2,000 customers in the north-central section of the county.
- Replacing underground distribution cables with new equipment. Work totaling more than $4.5 million is planned in all areas of the service territory, with a focus in Frederick and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
- Spending $2 million to inspect and proactively replace distribution and sub-transmission utility poles in the Potomac Edison service area. Approximately 36,000 utility poles will be inspected in 2015, with about 250 expected to be replaced.