Ohio Edison Completed Equipment Upgrades in 2013 Designed to Enhance Service Reliability $246 Million Spent Last Year to Expand and Strengthen Electric System
Ohio Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE), has completed approximately $246 million in scheduled reliability enhancement projects for 2013, including constructing three new substations, rebuilding and upgrading circuits, inspecting and replacing utility poles and continuing vegetation management programs.
One of the key projects was completing the new Black River Substation in Lorain, which is expected to provide support for system load growth, including the new arc furnace built by Republic Steel. This project also included removing transmission lines and an existing substation that ultimately will allow the city of Lorain to develop key lakefront and riverfront property. Overall, the cost for this project is about $15 million.
Ohio Edison also built two new modular substations to serve areas of growing load in Montville Township in southeast Medina County and Brimfield Township in western Portage County. The combined costs for these projects total almost $4 million.
Other projects included nearly $7 million in circuit rebuilds and upgrades that added automatic reclosing devices and replaced wire, crossarms, lightning arrestors, fuses, animal guards and spacer cable devices as needed, all of which are expected to help limit the frequency and duration of power outages for customers in Columbiana, Trumbull, Lorain and Medina counties.
"The system-wide infrastructure enhancements we completed in 2013 helped reduce, on average, the number of outages our customers experienced compared to previous years," said Randall A. Frame, regional president, Ohio Edison. "In addition, when an outage did occur it was, on average, for a shorter period of time. Overall, these projects help us enhance day-to-day service reliability along with maintaining our system's capability to handle future load growth."
Highlights of other Ohio Edison 2013 reliability work include:
- Completed approximately $22 million of vegetation management work along nearly 5,000 miles of electrical lines.
- Re-conductored a 16-mile section of a 138 kilovolt transmission line in Richland County at a cost of $19.8 million to enhance the transmission system.
- Spent more than $9 million inspecting and replacing utility poles in the Ohio Edison service area. More than 58,000 poles were inspected and about 2,500 replaced.
- Installed more than $3 million in improved relays and computer control systems at substations in Akron, Cortland, Marion, Medina, North Fairfield and Warren to aid remote monitoring and operations.
- Purchased 26 new vehicles at a cost of $5.5 million.
Also in 2013, FirstEnergy began offering a free smartphone app and text alerts for outage and account management, providing customers with more information and greater flexibility.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company 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.
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Actual results may differ materially due to the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry, in general, and the retail sales market in particular; the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in the various states in which we do business including, but not limited to, matters related to rates and pending rate cases; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM Interconnection LLC; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins; regulatory outcomes associated with storm restoration, including but not limited to Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm of 2011; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and availability and their impact on retail margins; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including possible greenhouse gas emission, water discharge, water intake and coal combustion residual regulations, the potential impacts of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), and/or any laws, rules or regulations that ultimately replace CAIR, and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rules including our estimated costs of compliance; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such expenditures could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to, among other things, Reliability Must-Run arrangements and the reliability of the transmission grid; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the impact of future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals including, but not limited to, the ability to reduce costs and to successfully complete our announced financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet, including but not limited to, proposed capital raising and debt reduction initiatives, and the proposed sale of non-core hydro assets; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; the ability to experience growth in the Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments and to continue to successfully implement our direct retail sales strategy in the Competitive Energy Services segment; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our announced financial plan, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties including fuel suppliers, with which we do business; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. 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