Penelec set to conduct maintenance work in Path Valley area as heat wave continues

24 June 2024- With the hot, humid summer months expected to produce higher electric usage and potentially severe weather, Penelec is completing inspections and conducting proactive equipment maintenance across its service area to help enhance service reliability for customers.

Penelec crews are wrapping up inspections of its local energy delivery system to ensure electrical equipment is ready to perform reliably with elevated summer electrical demand, typically due to air conditioning usage.

Substation electricians use thermovision cameras during summer-readiness inspections to capture infrared images, helping to detect potential problems within substations and on power lines that cannot be observed during regular visual inspections. These images can identify equipment issues such as loose connections, corrosion and load imbalances, and utility workers are able to make repairs to prevent potential power outages in the future.

In addition, helicopter patrols have completed inspections of more than 2,500 miles of power lines owned by Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC (MAIT), a FirstEnergy Corp. transmission subsidiary, located in the Penelec area. The inspections identify damaged wire, broken cross arms and other hardware problems not visible from the ground. Any potential reliability issues identified during the inspections will be addressed.

Since the beginning of the year, tree contractors have trimmed along 1,225 miles of power lines as part of FirstEnergy’s vegetation management program in the Penelec area. Work remains on schedule to complete an additional 3,000 miles by the end of the year. Maintaining proper clearances around electrical equipment is critical to providing safe, reliable electric service and can help reduce the frequency and duration of tree-related power outages, especially those associated with severe weather.

Trees are being trimmed in the local towns and counties of;

Bedford – Bedford

Franklin – Spring Run, Dry Run, Roxbury, Fannettsburg

Huntingdon – Mapleton

In addition to equipment inspections and maintenance, Penelec recently conducted storm-readiness exercises and drills to test the 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.  

With the summer storm season also comes higher-than-usual temperatures and rising energy costs. Customers can take steps to beat the heat while also managing their electricity bill this summer. The following tips can help customers use electricity wisely during this period of high demand:

  • Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow.
  • Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.
  • During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.
  • Seal any leaks with caulk or weather stripping to prevent hot air from sneaking into your home.
  • Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.
  • Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner must do.
  • Payment arrangements and assistance programs are available for customers who need help with their electric bills. For more information, visit firstenergycorp.com/billassist.