Ohio Edison to spend $371 million on transmission and distribution

Projects include building new substations and transmission lines, installing equipment in existing substations, adding remote control equipment on circuits, and the inspection and replacement of utility poles

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FirstEnergy Corp. expects to invest about $371 million in 2017 on distribution and transmission infrastructure projects to help enhance reliability for customers in the Ohio Edison service territory.

Major projects scheduled in 2017 throughout Ohio Edison's 34-county area include building new substations and transmission lines, installing equipment in existing substations, adding remote control equipment on circuits, and the inspection and replacement of utility poles.

"The proactive upgrades we have done over the years to our electric system have helped reduce the number and duration of service disruptions our customers experienced," said Randall Frame, regional president of Ohio Edison. "Our results show that in 2016 we performed better than the reliability standards established by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, with an average Ohio Edison customer experiencing less than one outage per year."

FirstEnergy projects scheduled in the Ohio Edison footprint in 2017 include:

· Adding multiple circuit breakers and automated disconnect switches to substations in Akron, Edison, Mansfield, Massillon, Ontario and Uniontown at a combined cost of more than $24.5 million to enhance customer service reliability by providing alternate paths for the electricity to flow if interruptions are detected on the system. This new configuration also better protects the existing equipment in the substation by using the breakers to interrupt the flow of electricity before permanent and costly damage can occur. The work is expected to be completed throughout the year.

· Rebuilding a 15-mile, 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that connects substations in Garrettsville and Newton Falls to help enhance system reliability for customers in Portage and Trumbull counties. The project is budgeted at about $23 million and is scheduled to go online by the end of the year.

· Starting construction on a new 28-mile, 138-kV transmission line in the Sandusky and Fremont areas. Twelve miles are in Ohio Edison territory and 16 miles are located in the Toledo Edison footprint. For 2017, Ohio Edison expects to spend about $9 million on this project, which is scheduled to be energized in May of 2018.

· Completing a 12 mile, 69-kV transmission line project that will enhance service reliability to about 7,500 customers in Huron County. The work includes the installation of nine miles of new circuit and three miles of existing circuit being rebuilt between substations in Norwalk and North Fairfield. The overall cost of the project is more than $18 million, with $9.3 million expected to be spent in 2017. The line is scheduled to be operational by the end of May.

· Rebuilding a 138-kV transmission line from a substation in Twinsburg to one in Hudson that provides electricity to the city's municipal electric system. The cost of the project is about $6.6 million.

· Investing more than $4 million inspecting and replacing distribution poles in Ohio Edison's service area. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. More than 56,000 utility poles are scheduled to be inspected in 2017.

· Rebuilding a 69-kV transmission line in the Ashland area at a cost of $3.3 million.

· Replacing a transformer and other equipment at a substation in Marion at a cost of $1.8 million to enhance redundancy and reliability.

· Building a new modular substation in West Jefferson in Madison County at a projected cost of $1.3 million.

· Using a barge to replace a 12.5-kV underwater cable running from Middle Bass Island to North Bass Island at a cost of $1.4 million.

· Installing remote-control equipment and completing other enhancements on more than 270 circuit locations throughout the Ohio Edison area at an estimated cost of $1.3 million.

More than $227 million of the budgeted total will be spent on transmission-related projects owned by American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.

In 2016, FirstEnergy spent about $375 million in the Ohio Edison area on hundreds of large and small transmission and distribution projects, including building new substations and transmission lines, adding equipment to existing locations, installing voltage-regulating equipment and automated controls, and replacing poles.

Ohio Edison is a unit of FirstEnergy Corp. and serves more than one million customers across 34 Ohio counties.

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