) has plans to increase its investments in the ambitious
"Energizing the Future" transmission project to $2.8 billion for
the period 2014 through 2017. The initiative was first announced
in May 2012 as part of the company's goal of enhancing its
high-voltage transmission system.
The initial phase will aim at construction of the 69 kilovolt
(kV) transmission lines and substations in areas covered by the
company's Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company,
Toledo Edison and Penn Power divisions. The program will
gradually extend to other FirstEnergy service territories in the
next several years. The preliminary program cost is estimated to
be $1.8 billion in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey
and Maryland over the next five years.
The large-scale project was undertaken in the wake of the
Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule which caused
deactivation of coal-fired plants in the region.
The work will involve replacement of ageing infrastructure
with state-of-the art equipment to boost customer service
reliability and help minimize the duration of outages. About
7,200 circuit miles of 69 kV and higher transmission lines will
be examined and renovated as well as over 170 substations will be
modernized. Also, work on the list includes evaluation and
restoration of 70,000 transmission structures.
The 69 kV line is the key infrastructure connecting the high
voltage transmission lines and the distribution network that
services the end users. Focus on tightening security at
substations by adding new fencing, thermal imaging devices and
various surveillance options is also on the cards.
The strategic transmission investments in the service
territories where future economic growth is expected, especially
in Ohio's shale oil areas, will offer promising results for
FirstEnergy. Beginning Nov 2013, FirstEnergy has been busy
upgrading its existing high-growth facilities, which will improve
service quality and lead to customer retention.
Presently, FirstEnergy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other
utility players looking attractive at present include Zacks
Ranked #2 (Buy)
The AES Corp.
AES CORP (AES): Free Stock Analysis Report
EDISON INTL (EIX): Free Stock Analysis Report
EXELON CORP (EXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
FIRSTENERGY CP (FE): Free Stock Analysis
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