PARKERSBURG - About $60 million will be spent this year to further enhance the electrical system and reliability in a 34-county service area, primarily in north-central West Virginia, Monongahela Power said.
Major projects include transmission improvements, building new distribution circuits, replacing underground cables, inspecting and replacing utility poles and ongoing vegetation management programs, the utility, a subsidiary of First Energy, said.
"The planned infrastructure projects are designed to help maintain our system on a day-to-day basis to benefit Mon Power customers now while helping to prepare our system for future load growth," said Holly Kauffman, president of West Virginia operations. "Whether it be installing new equipment at substations, replacing cables or spending on vegetation management, our ultimate goal is to continue to enhance the reliability of our system to benefit our customers."
The projects will have both localized and widespread system benefits to customers throughout the service area, the company said.
Planned projects include spending nearly $7 million in a variety of transmission expansions and enhancements intended to increase the capacity and robustness of Mon Power's highvoltage transmission system. The scheduled projects include:
* Installing a second transformer at the Miracle Run Substation to add capacity and improve reliability for customers near Morgantown at a cost of more than $3 million.
* Replacing equipment at the Weirton Substation to provide additional capacity in the Weirton area of Hancock County at a cost of more than $700,000.
* pending more than $1.1 million to replace electrical equipment identified during routine inspections of the transmission system to improve reliability.
* Continuing vegetation management program to trim trees and maintain proper clearances to help reduce tree-related storm damage. Among scheduled areas include Clarksburg, Elkins, Fairmont, Kingwood, Lewisburg, Morgantown and Parkersburg.
* Upgrading equipment on distribution circuits throughout the service territory to enhance service reliability. The improvements including installing new wire, cable and fuses are expected to enhance the electrical system and reliability for Mon Power customers.
* Installing equipment to help maintain proper voltage levels throughout Mon Power's service area.
* Expanding the distribution system with an investment of more than $11 million to provide electrical service to new residential and commercial customers in northcentral West Virginia.
* Spending more than $3 million inspecting and replacing distribution poles in the Mon Power service area. This inspection process is conducted on a 12-year cycle in West Virginia. Inspections have begun, with replacement work scheduled to be completed by the end of fall.
Mon Power serves about 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.