Mon Power brings mobile computing to field vehicles

The $2.3 million project is slated for completion by summer 2014

Mon Power, a unit of FirstEnergy Corp., is installing laptop computers in more than 250 line trucks and other field vehicles to enhance service and better manage repair work and reliability upgrades more efficiently. The $2.3 million project is slated for completion by summer 2014.

Using the new laptops will help crews save time by viewing the work orders electronically rather than having to write down the information being phoned or radioed in from the company's dispatching office.

The advanced technology displays detailed maps of Mon Power's distribution and transmission systems and flags the location of other company crews working nearby. The laptop computers also use global-positioning technology to provide turn-by-turn directions to work locations down to the specific utility pole level.

Other FirstEnergy utilities also are installing the new computer technology in their vehicles, which allows those crews to coordinate and work efficiently with Mon Power crews during storm restoration efforts. It is anticipated that the new equipment should help company personnel calculate more precise estimated times of restoration, particularly during large-scale outages, because dispatchers can immediately see which crews are on site and engaged in repairs.

Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.

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