Potomac Edison Completes Reliability Projects in MarylandAutomatic restoration projects, recloser replacements part of larger enhancement program
WILLIAMSPORT, Md., Nov. 3, 2021 -- Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has completed two new distribution automation projects in Carroll and Garrett counties and installed 13 new substation reclosers in Frederick and Garrett counties to help reduce service interruptions. The work is part of a broader initiative approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission to enhance service reliability for customers across Potomac Edison's Maryland service area.
"These enhancements and upgrades to our system will generate meaningful benefits by improving our service restoration capabilities and reducing the number of momentary and sustained power outages our customers experience," said James A. Sears, Jr., president of FirstEnergy's Maryland operations.
The distribution automation projects allow utility personnel to automatically switch customers to an adjacent power line in the event of outages. By tying customers to a second source of power, Potomac Edison can help minimize the impact of power outages on customers.
The automation work completed in Carroll and Garrett counties will benefit 4,056 customers. The two projects, which cost a combined $1 million, included the installation of 10 automated reclosers, new line regulators for voltage support and replacing a half mile of overhead power lines. Similar to a household circuit breaker, a recloser is an automatic, high-voltage electric switch that shuts off power when trouble occurs, such as when a tree branch contacts a power line. The device then resets itself and restores power when the trouble has cleared.
The Carroll County project, completed in July, will benefit 1,736 customers in the Union Bridge and New Windsor areas. The Garrett County project, completed in October, will benefit 2,320 customers in the Oakland area.
The new substation reclosers cost $1.5 million and were installed over the last 10 months, benefiting customers in the Frederick and Oakland areas. Reclosers are located at all Potomac Edison substations to protect the power lines that feed customers.
The newer model reclosers can isolate a problem on one portion of a power line while keeping electricity flowing through the remainder, minimizing the number of customers interrupted by outages. Potomac Edison personnel also can operate the new reclosers remotely to assist line workers in the field during restoration activities. Potomac Edison is scheduled to replace 25% of its substation reclosers by the end of 2022.
Approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission in 2019, the automation and recloser initiatives are scheduled to continue through the end of 2022. In addition, Potomac Edison is replacing approximately 50 miles of underground electrical cable each year. By replacing aging cable with new cable featuring a protective outer coating, Potomac Edison can proactively address potential service interruptions and enhance service reliability for customers.
Potomac Edison serves about 275,000 customers in all or parts of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery, and Washington counties in Maryland and 151,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at www.potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, 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 approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
CONTACT: Will Boye, (301) 790-6420