Mon Power Prepares for Winter
According to a press release from FirstEnergy Corp., in preparation for winter, Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance on weather-sensitive equipment across its service area.
Winter’s cold temperatures can produce increased demand for electricity, and heavy snow and wind have the potential to cause damage to poles, wires and substations, requiring crews to make repairs in difficult conditions. Holly Kauffman, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia Operations says, “Conducting winter maintenance procedures for our infrastructure, combined with fleet maintenance designed to prepare our vehicles for winter weather, make a difference when the weather turns cold. Preparing now for potential severe weather conditions helps enhance the service we provide to our customers.”
The work includes inspecting heating equipment for substation components, such as capacitor banks, transformers, and oil- and gas-filled circuit breakers. Some substations also include buildings that house remote-controlled relay equipment. These structures will be winterized and have the heating systems checked.
Substation electricians also inspect batteries used to power relays that sense faults on the network and motors that automatically operate switches to isolate those problems, helping to prevent service interruptions or limit their size and scope. Crews use special thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots invisible to the naked eye on equipment prone to overheating and malfunctioning as customers crank up their heaters to combat the cold.
Helicopter patrols also are completing inspections on approximately 2,100 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the Mon Power area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not visible from the ground.
In addition, tree trimming throughout the year helps meet the rigors of winter operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Mon Power tree contractors expect to complete trimming along more than 4,500 circuit miles of electric lines in 2017.
Employee safety also is a priority during the winter. Mon Power’s cold-weather operational procedures are reviewed with linemen, substation electricians, and meter readers in advance of any frigid conditions.
FirstEnergy’s utilities also have made it easier for customers to check the progress of service restoration efforts if they experience a power outage during severe winter weather. The company’s 24/7 Power Center outage maps now display the status of crews restoring service after a power outage. With this enhancement, FirstEnergy utility customers can see when crews have been dispatched, when they are working on a repair, and when additional crews or equipment are needed to complete restoration work. This information also is provided through the companies’ web-based outage information, and text messaging and alert services. The website links to these services and to a gallery of photos will be posted in the transcript of this story at www.alleghenymountainradio.org.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. FirstEnergy serves 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.
To learn more, visit www.firstenergycorp.com.
24/7 Power Center Outage Maps: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/outages_help/current_outages_maps.html
Web-based Outage Information: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/content/customer/outages_help.html
Text Messaging and Alert Services: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/help/communication_tools.html
Flickr.com Gallery of Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstenergycorp