Mon Power to invest more than $110M

PARKERSBURG – Several projects in the region are among the more than $110 million to be invested in 2014 on service reliability upgrades in Mon Power’s 34-county service area primarily located in north-central West Virginia, the company said.

The investment is a $32 million increase from last year. Major 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 planned infrastructure projects are designed to help reduce the number and duration of outages our customers might experience and to prepare for future growth,” said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy’s president of West Virginia operations. “When combined with the dedicated work of our employees, these projects will help us continue to provide the quality service our customers in West Virginia expect and deserve.”

Mon Power’s 2014 enhancements are expected to have both localized and wide-spread system benefits to customers throughout the service area. The majority of the projects are designed to upgrade, expand and inspect Mon Power’s distribution system, as well as perform tree trimming and enhance both service capacity and reliability.

The scheduled projects include:

* $36 million to continue Mon Power’s ongoing tree trimming program 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.

* $33 million to support the expanding Marcellus shale gas industry. Projects are in the Fairmont, Sistersville and Salem areas.

* $17 million to provide electrical service to new residential and commercial customers in north-central West Virginia, including Morgantown, Fairmont, Parkersburg and Weirton.

* $3 million upgrading and replacing equipment on distribution circuits throughout the service territory. The updates – including installing new wire, cable and fuses – are expected to enhance the electrical system and reliability for Mon Power customers.

* $5 million for increasing capacity on the Collins Ferry-Osage 138,000-volt transmission line to enhance both the line’s performance and the reliability of regional transmission system to benefit Mon Power customers in Monongalia County near Morgantown.

* $2 million to inspect 40,000 distribution poles and replacing about 250 poles at a cost of more than $2 million.

* $1.8 million to replace electrical equipment identified during routine inspections of the transmission system to enhance reliability throughout Mon Power’s service area.