) infrastructure modernization drive is progressing well. Its
operating wing, Potomac Edison announced the reconstruction of a
138 Kilovolt (Kv) transmission line which will serve 65,000
customers in Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties
The program is a part of Potomac Edison's overall $55 million
investment plan to upgrade electrical systems and service
reliability in western Maryland and West Virginia's Eastern
Panhandle territories in 2013.
The 13-mile transmission line was fitted with higher capacity
conductor which will link a substation in Thurmont in Frederick
County to a substation in Union Bridge, nearby Carroll County.
Integral to a $5.3 million initiative it also involved the
replacement and modernization of equipment at both the
substations. The new equipment will allow the transmission line
to effectively handle future load growth.
The original aim was to reconstruct substations along with a
transmission line which would have been far more costly. However,
the merger with Alleghany Energy in 2011 provided a relief as
FirstEnergy was able to economize the program by incorporating
local existing equipment. This resulted in greater reliability
and at substantial cost-savings.
Besides transmission improvements, FirstEnergy unit will also
build new distribution circuits, replace underground cables,
examine and replace utility poles as well as carry on with its
vegetation management programs.
Expanding transmission assets and upgrading the existing lines
have been FirstEnergy's prime focus in 2013. The company expects
to shell out a total of $7 billion in developing transmission
infrastructure in the next four years. Recently, FirstEnergy
pumped up its transmission investments to $2.8 billion for
advancing its "Energizing the Future" project for the period 2014
FirstEnergy's large-scale modernization efforts will help
minimize future maintenance costs as well as amplify the
communication chains which will increase systems capacity. This
will certainly boost the company's services thus leading to
customer retention and expansion.
Presently, FirstEnergy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other
utility players looking attractive at present include Zacks
Ranked #2 (Buy)
Alliant Energy Corp.
EDISON INTL (EIX): Free Stock Analysis Report
EXELON CORP (EXC): Free Stock Analysis Report
FIRSTENERGY CP (FE): Free Stock Analysis
ALLIANT ENGY CP (LNT): Free Stock Analysis
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