FirstEnergy Power Plants Prepared to Operate Reliably through Winter Months
AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2017 -- Nine fossil and nuclear generating stations owned by subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia today have completed comprehensive preventive maintenance work to help them operate reliably this winter, when increased heating needs raise the demand for electricity.
"FirstEnergy's coal and nuclear plants are resilient facilities that provide electricity when customers need it most," said Don Moul, president, FirstEnergy Generation. "Because the plants maintain large quantities of onsite fuel, they are not affected by fuel delivery disruptions that occur due to ice, snow and extreme cold temperatures. Our seasonal work activities add another layer of assurance that these plants will continue to operate reliably during all types of weather."
FirstEnergy's nuclear plants follow a 13-part winter readiness program, and its coal plants implement a similar, eight-step process. These programs outline inspections of buildings, equipment and heating systems, guide key weatherization activities, and establish seasonal-specific training for plant personnel. In total, more than 500 maintenance activities have been completed at the company's coal and nuclear plants in preparation for winter.
To prepare for frigid temperatures and icy conditions, plant operators have installed storm barriers to protect equipment from harsh weather, set up heating elements that provide additional warmth to piping and in areas most susceptible to cold, added anti-freeze to equipment, and increased fuel stockpiles at coal-fired facilities.
Throughout the cold months, operators will run water pumps more often to avoid freezing, keep oil flow within transformers more constant, and take precautions to prevent cooling towers from icing. FirstEnergy will also stay in close contact with PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., the regional grid operator, to avoid scheduling plant maintenance work during periods of high electricity demand.
"While we place special attention on verifying the readiness of our equipment and operations prior to seasonal changes, our power plants are inspected and maintained year-round to promote safe, efficient performance," said Sam Belcher, chief nuclear officer for FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC). "Projects completed throughout the year complement our winter preparation activities and ensure top performance no matter the weather."
A number of long-term reliability projects have been completed at FirstEnergy generating facilities in 2017. A new, large transformer that connects the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio, with the electrical grid was installed at the site during its spring refueling outage, ensuring a critical power source is available for plant operation. Turbine and boiler work has been completed to continue reliable performance at the coal-fired Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Shippingport, Pa. and W. H. Sammis Power Plant in Stratton, Ohio. In addition, refurbishment of the cooling tower is nearing completion at the Fort Martin Power Station in Maidsville, W.Va.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, and its subsidiaries control nearly 17,000 megawatts of generation capacity. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp or online at www.firstenergycorp.com.
Editor's Note: Photos of some of the reliability projects at FirstEnergy's generating stations are available for download on Flickr.
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