Met-Ed to spend $245 million on power grid improvements

Major projects scheduled in 2017 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 $245 million in 2017 on distribution and transmission infrastructure projects to help enhance reliability for more than 560,000 customers in the Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed) service territory.

Major projects scheduled in 2017 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.

"Each year we review our system to look for projects that can bring the greatest reliability benefit to the largest number of customers," said Ed Shuttleworth, regional president of Met-Ed. "For 2017, we are starting work on several large transmission projects, in addition to the on-going enhancements we do annually on the distribution side of our electric system to help reduce the number and duration of outages our customers might experience."

FirstEnergy projects scheduled in the Met-Ed footprint in 2017 include:

· Adding a new transformer at a substation in Straban Township, Adams County, at a cost of $7.6 million in 2017 to increase capacity and redundancy.

· Installing four 230 kV circuit breakers and other equipment at a substation in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County, at a cost of $4.7 million to enhance reliability and operational flexibility.

· Inspecting and replacing utility poles, as needed, at an expected cost of $4.6 million throughout the Met-Ed service area. Inspections began in January, with replacement work scheduled to be performed throughout the year.

· Renovating multiple overhead power lines throughout the company's 3,500-square-mile service territory at a cost of nearly $4 million.

· Spending about $2.85 million to add new connection points, along with installing new sectionalizing devices, such as fuses and automated switches, to help limit the number of customers affected when an outage occurs.

· Spending about $1.76 million to install remote-control equipment that can be reset automatically to allow for quicker identification of potential problems and faster restoration should an outage occur.

· Relocating electrical equipment at a cost of about $1 million for various highway and roadway projects in the Met-Ed area.

· Upgrading sections of underground networks in Reading, Easton, York and Lebanon at a cost of almost $800,000 to enhance reliability.

· Spending about $660,000 to replace porcelain protective switches on wires with new polymer devices. The switches automatically shut off when a system irregularity is detected, serving to protect the electrical equipment and limit the number of customers affected by an outage.

About $104 million of the budgeted total will be spent on transmission-related projects owned by Mid Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC (MAIT), a FirstEnergy transmission company.

In 2016, FirstEnergy spent about $130 million in the Met-Ed area on large and small distribution and transmission projects, including enhancing circuits, installing voltage-regulating equipment and automated controls, and replacing poles.

Met-Ed, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., serves about 560,000 customers in 15 Pennsylvania counties.

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