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FirstEnergy plans to invest $450m to upgrade electric system in Ohio

EBR Staff Writer Published 04 December 2017

FirstEnergy is planning to redesign and modernize the electric system as well as prepare for smart technologies with an investment of $450m in Ohio, US.

As part of this effort, the FirstEnergy has filed the three-year investment plan with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

The proposed projects are expected to help restore power faster, boost the system against adverse weather conditions, and enhance system performance.

FirstEnergy Utilities president Steve Strah said: "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.

"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."

The proposed projects include circuit tie, which aims to help prevent or shorten outages by tying adjacent lines together and creating multiple paths for power to flow to customers, as well as reconductoring which involves installing larger wires to support greater power flows and enhance reliability.

FirstEnergy will also invest in projects include reclosers, which allow grid operators to isolate an outage to the immediate area where damage occurs as well as data acquisition systems which allows grid operators to remotely monitor and react to power grid conditions to help restore power faster.

The firm said that the investment will be used to create a stronger distribution system serving customers in Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating and Toledo Edison.