Ohio Edison boosts transmission system ahead of summer months

The inspections include using thermal cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems

Content Dam Elp Online Articles 2015 June Firstenergy Utility Worker Elp

With summer — and higher electricity demand — on the way, Ohio Edison, a FirstEnergy Corp. utility, is completing projects, inspections and conducting equipment maintenance in its northeast and central Ohio territory to enhance service reliability.

Cost-effective helicopter patrols are completing inspections on nearly 4,000 miles of FirstEnergy transmission lines located in the Ohio Edison area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not easily detected from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspection will be addressed.

On the ground, the inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with Ohio Edison substation equipment such as transformers and capacitors. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring.

Other utility work being done by Ohio Edison crews includes inspecting distribution circuits, including transformers, capacitors, reclosers and lightning arrestors to ensure the equipment is operational and the lines are ready to perform efficiently when demand for electricity increases during the summer, typically due to air conditioning usage.

Tree trimming is another key to preparing the Ohio Edison system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. Ohio Edison tree contractors have trimmed nearly 2,000 miles of distribution lines since January and expect to trim another 2,500 miles by year’s end.

Crews also are finishing work on several projects in the Ohio Edison service area designed to help enhance the reliability of the electric system in time for the summer. These projects include:

· Completing a new $2.4 million substation in West Akron to enhance customer service reliability for more than 5,000 customers. The project included installing animal protection devices made out of polymer material to help reduce outages caused by squirrels and other animals.

· Replacing wire on a 138-kV transmission line that runs between substations in Akron and Barberton at a cost of $2.4 million.

In addition, a team of Ohio Edison and FirstEnergy employees recently conducted a readiness exercise to test the company's restoration process used to repair storm-related power outages. Storm drills are becoming more common in the utility industry in the wake of severe weather over the last several years.

Ohio Edison serves more than 1 million customers across 36 Ohio counties.

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