) business wing, West Penn Power, energized its 138 Kilovolt (Kv)
transmission line yesterday which links the substation close to
Kirby, Pa. with a substation near Monongalia County, W. Va.
Although the majority of the line is in the West Penn region, the
West Virginia portion will provide transmission services to
another FirstEnergy ancillary, Mon Power.
The line was built to boost FirstEnergy's regional
transmission network, meet future load growth and provide power
service reliability to Greene County consumers in
The construction work on the 14-mile transmission line
commenced in spring 2012. FirstEnergy shelled out approximately
$20 million for the project. Both the Kirby and Monongalia County
substations were expanded and upgraded to make them suitable for
the new line.
Part of the plan also included connecting the line to a 500 kV
substation adjacent to Mt. Morris in Greene County through a
separate transformer which cost around $8.5 million. Besides
initiating this transmission line, West Penn Power intends to
expend roughly $110 million for improving electrical systems in
its 24-hour county service zones.
Diligent focus will also be given to vegetation management
programs in West Penn's service regions via cutting of tree
climbs for maintenance of clearances along the 4,500 miles of
distribution and sub-transmission lines. Nearly $25 million is
estimated to go out of the company's pocket for this project
aimed at minimization of tree-related storm outages.
Utility companies have lately been investing in modernization
of their existing infrastructure to propel future growth.
Beginning 2013, FirstEnergy disclosed a series of upgrade plans
for its subsidiaries, which included building new circuits,
replacing underground cables, and examining and replacing utility
Another operator spending aggressively on asset upgrades is
Integrys Energy Group Inc.
). The company received regulatory approval for its ambitious
$220 million modernization project at its Wisconsin Public
FirstEnergy's large-scale upgrade initiatives are appreciable
as these will improve the quality of electric services, help
retain its customer base as well as attract non-FirstEnergy
customers. The combination of asset upgrades and transmission
investments will prove beneficial for the company in the near
FirstEnergy at the moment carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other utility players better placed in the market are Zacks
Ranked #2 (Buy)
PNM Resources Inc.
UNS Energy Corp.
FIRSTENERGY CP (FE): Free Stock Analysis
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