At FirstEnergy, it’s our responsibility to deliver the power our customers depend on in their daily lives. That’s why we’re continuing a major initiative to further upgrade and modernize our transmission system. These investments will benefit the communities we serve by enhancing service reliability across our entire system.
Often considered the “superhighway” of the power grid, the transmission system feeds electricity into our local networks of poles and wires that serve homes and businesses.
Energizing the Future involves upgrading many of our existing transmission facilities with advanced equipment and technologies that will reinforce the power grid and help prevent or reduce the duration of customer outages. Since 2014, we have upgraded or replaced existing power lines, incorporated new, smart technology into the grid, and upgraded dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features. These upgrades produced reliability improvements across our transmission system. FirstEnergy will continue these investments through 2021, with planned spending of $4.2 to $5.8 billion over the next five years.
Delivering improved electric service to customers
- Enhancing service reliability by reducing the number and duration of customer power outages.
- Installing new, smart technology that can be operated remotely to help prevent some outages from occurring. Or, when an outage does occur, this advanced equipment can automatically pinpoint the location of a service disruption and limit the outage to only those customers where the damage occurred. This allows FirstEnergy to reduce the number of overall customers that are affected and shorten the duration.
- Modernizing infrastructure will ultimately lower maintenance costs charged to our customers. While older equipment still functions, it costs more to maintain, is more prone to outages, and cannot be retrofitted with new smart technology.
Image: An aerial construction worker connects wires to new transmission line structures, part of a $20 million project to address rising electric demand in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs.
Partnering with local communities
- FirstEnergy relies on local contractors for some of this work, which creates local jobs. The environmental impact of most of these projects will be minimal.
- Most of the work will be done along existing rights-of-way, or within existing substations and facilities on FirstEnergy property, with minimal long-line construction. Helicopters are often used to string new lines, which completes the work faster and reduces the need to move large trucks and equipment across private property. Our staff is dedicated to working closely with local elected officials and property owners to address concerns and provide timely project updates.
Image: FirstEnergy foresters participate in an Ohio State University demonstration project that seeks to rejuvenate declining populations of bees and other pollinating insects.
Supporting economic growth
- Energizing the Future projects are designed to increase our load-serving capability in areas of our service territory where economic growth is occurring or anticipated. Some additional work continues on new transmission facilities that energize midstream shale gas infrastructure, including energy-intensive pipeline compressor stations and gas processing facilities.
- This proactive approach allows FirstEnergy to more readily accommodate new residential, commercial and industrial growth. It also reduces lead time for customers seeking electric service at newly constructed facilities.
Image: FirstEnergy crews putting the final touches on a new $30 million transmission project in Elyria, Ohio, to meet rising electric demand driven by local manufacturing growth.