FirstEnergy Corp. plans to invest more than $110 million in 2014 on service reliability infrastructure upgrades in Mon Power's 34-county service area, primarily in north-central West Virginia. This represents about a $32 million increase compared to what the company invested in reliability infrastructure in the same area in 2013.
Projects scheduled for this year include transmission improvements, building new distribution lines, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing equipment including utility poles and ongoing tree trimming programs.
The scheduled projects include:
· Investing $36 million to continue Mon Power's ongoing tree trimming program to help maintain proper clearances along nearly 4,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines in Beverly, Buckhannon, Chester, Clarksburg, Elkins, Fairmont, Huttonsville, Lewisburg, Morgantown, Wellsburg, Weirton and Weston. This work is designed to help reduce tree-related storm damage and duration of storm-related outages.
· Investing more than $33 million to support the expanding Marcellus shale gas industry. Projects are in the Fairmont, Sistersville and Salem areas.
· Investing more than $17 million to provide electrical service to new residential and commercial customers in north-central West Virginia, including Morgantown, Fairmont, Parkersburg and Weirton.
· Upgrading and replacing equipment on distribution circuits throughout the service territory at a cost of more than $3 million. The updates include installing new wire, cable and fuses.
· Increasing capacity on the Collins Ferry-Osage 138,000-volt transmission line at a cost of more than $5 million to help enhance both the line's performance and the reliability of regional transmission system to benefit Mon Power customers in Monongalia County near Morgantown.
· Inspecting 40,000 distribution poles and replacing about 250 poles at a cost of more than $2 million.
· Investing about $1.8 million to replace electrical equipment identified during routine inspections of the transmission system to enhance reliability throughout Mon Power's service area.
Mon Power, a FirstEnergy electric distribution company, serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.