READING, PA — With the hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage and potentially severe weather, Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) subsidiary, is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance in its 14-county eastern and south-central Pennsylvania service area to enhance service reliability for customers. The company is also ready to respond to power outages caused during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30 and is forecast to be more active than normal this year.
Cost-effective helicopter patrols have completed inspections of about 1,380 miles of transmission lines located in the Met-Ed area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections will be addressed.
On the ground, Met-Ed crews are wrapping up inspections of distribution circuit components – including transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors – to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently with elevated summer electrical demand, typically due to air conditioning usage.
Substation electricians use thermovision cameras during summer-readiness inspections to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with substation equipment such as transformers and capacitors. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring.
“Our customers fight searing summer heat and humidity with fans and air conditioning to stay comfortable,” said Linda Moss, Met-Ed regional president. “To help ensure our system is reliable and prepared for increased electrical demand when temperatures soar, we proactively inspect and maintain our equipment.”
Tree trimming is another key to preparing the Met-Ed system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Met-Ed tree contractors have trimmed more than 1,330 circuit miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 1,870 miles by year end.
An aerial saw suspended beneath a helicopter completed some of that trimming work along 50 miles of hard-to-access transmission lines in York and Adams County in May. The aerial saw is typically deployed along transmission lines in areas that are environmentally sensitive or inaccessible to bucket trucks and other vehicles. This fast, safe and efficient method of trimming typically covers more area in a day than a ground crew might complete in a week. The saw also eliminates the risk of injury to workers using bucket trucks or climbing trees to cut limbs near high voltage equipment.
For more information on preparing for severe weather, or for updates if storms do cause power outages, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
As summer temperatures soar, Met-Ed offers customers tips to help improve their energy efficiency at www.firstenergycorp.com/save_energy.
Summer also is a time when contractors and homeowners spend more time outdoors completing projects. Important outdoor electrical safety tips are available at www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety.
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