With the upcoming hot summer months expected to produce higher electric usage, The Illuminating Co., a FirstEnergy Corp. unit, is completing inspections and conducting equipment maintenance in its northeast Ohio area to enhance service reliability for customers.
Cost-effective helicopter patrols have completed inspections on more than 1,200 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line circuits located in The Illuminating Co. area. The inspections are designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, failed insulators, and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the transmission inspection will be addressed.
On the ground, the inspections include using "thermovision" cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with The Illuminating Co. 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 The Illuminating Co. 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 Illuminating Co. system to meet the rigors of summer operations by maintaining proper clearances around electrical systems and helping to protect against tree-related outages. The Illuminating Co. tree contractors have trimmed nearly 600 miles of electric lines since January and expect to trim another 1,300 miles by year end.
In addition, a team of The Illuminating Co. 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.
Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. serves more than 750,000 customers across Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties.