By: FirstEnergy |

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and its subsidiaries are rebuilding and modernizing an electric transmission line to enhance service reliability for West Penn Power and Penn Power customers in Butler and Mercer counties. When completed later this year, the upgraded line will reinforce the local electric system and use smart technologies to help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

The project involves replacing the existing 69-kilovolt (kV) poles and wires with new structures capable of supporting 138-kV operation.  The upgraded line will extend about 7.5 miles between existing electric substations in Slippery Rock Township, Butler County and Grove City Borough, Mercer County. Remote control switching devices are being added to allow grid operators to respond to operational conditions more quickly. New equipment was also added to two substations to handle the line’s increased capacity and support growing electric demand.

“By rebuilding an existing line, we can help maintain service reliability for customers with minimal impact on local communities and the environment,” said Linda Moss, president, Pennsylvania Operations.  “The new line and remote-control equipment will help strengthen and modernize the grid, and increase the flexibility and redundancy of our system.”

Construction is now underway, with the new line expected to be energized by the end of this year. As required by state law, FirstEnergy and its operating companies recently obtained approval to rebuild the line by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

The project is part of Energizing the Future, a multi-year investment initiative aimed at upgrading FirstEnergy’s transmission facilities with advanced equipment and technologies that will reinforce the power grid and help reduce the frequency and duration of customer outages.  Since 2014, FirstEnergy has upgraded or replaced existing transmission lines, incorporated new, smart technology into the grid, and outfitted dozens of substations with new equipment and enhanced security features.  These upgrades are producing reliability improvements across the company’s transmission system. FirstEnergy will continue these investments through 2021, with planned spending of $4.2 to $5.8 billion over the next five years.