FirstEnergy Taking Proactive Steps to Prepare Transmission System for Summer Weather

AKRON, Ohio, June 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has completed annual inspections and maintenance throughout its transmission…

AKRON, Ohio, June 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has completed annual inspections and maintenance throughout its transmission system to help ensure reliability for customers ahead of the summer season.

The transmission system, which channels high-voltage power from generation sources to local lines serving towns and communities, serves as the interstate highway system of the electric grid. Coupled with similar work at the local utility level, the system-wide weather preparations help ensure reliable power is delivered to customers when demand for electricity is at its highest.

Much work has been completed to help prepare the transmission grid to meet summer demand, including:

  • Comprehensive assessments of FirstEnergy’s transmission footprint, including inspection and maintenance along approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines;
  • Helicopter patrols of high-voltage lines designed to look for damaged wire, broken cross arms, or other equipment issues;
  • Maintenance and inspection of transmission transformer cooling systems;
  • Inspection of transmission mobile substations, which can expedite restoration in case of unplanned outages; and,
  • Analysis of projected peak power flows to help ensure the grid is prepared for increased electricity demand over the summer season.

«Power outages on the transmission system can impact a very large number of customers, and it’s critical that we take these steps to plan for increased demand and rapidly-changing conditions that can be brought on by summer heat and storms,» said Carl Bridenbaugh, vice president of transmission at FirstEnergy. «This proactive approach helps ensure our entire transmission system is prepared for extreme weather this summer.»

In addition to equipment inspections and maintenance, crews have been trimming trees along transmission lines to help protect against tree-related outages this summer. To date, FirstEnergy has trimmed along more than 1,400 of the nearly 3,400 miles of high-voltage lines planned this year as part of its $70 million transmission vegetation management program.

The summer preparation work builds on extensive investments into the transmission system through Energizing the Future, FirstEnergy’s multi-year modernization initiative. Since the program kicked off in 2014, customers in the western part of FirstEnergy’s transmission system have experienced a 39 percent reduction in the number of equipment-related outages and 32 percent shorter-duration outages when they do occur. Similar results are expected as the program progresses eastward.

Through Energizing the Future, FirstEnergy has incorporated new, smart technology into the system, rebuilt or replaced aging power lines, and enhanced grid and cybersecurity, helping ensure a reliable and secure system more resistant to extreme weather events.

FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

Editor’s Note:  Photos of crews completing summer preparation work are available for download on Flickr

Forward-Looking Statements:  This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management’s intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms «anticipate,» «potential,» «expect,» «forecast,» «target,» «will,» «intend,» «believe,» «project,» «estimate,» «plan» and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the effectiveness of our ongoing discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the S.D. Ohio to resolve its investigation with respect to us; the results of the internal investigation and evaluation of our controls framework and remediation of our material weakness in internal control over financial reporting; the risks and uncertainties associated with government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters including potential adverse impacts on federal or state regulatory matters including, but not limited to, matters relating to rates; the potential of non-compliance with debt covenants in our credit facilities due to matters associated with the government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and similar proceedings; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, maintaining financial flexibility, overcoming current uncertainties and challenges associated with the ongoing government investigations, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, greenhouse gas reduction goals, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing earnings; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as a recession, significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions in response to such conditions; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; the extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, including the vaccine’s efficacy and the effectiveness of its distribution; the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers, contractors and employees, our customers’ ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers’ demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of climate change or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.’s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.’s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. These forward-looking statements are also qualified by,  and should be read together with, the risk factors included in FirstEnergy Corp.’s filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy Corp.’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy Corp. expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein or in the information incorporated by reference as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.