) modernization drive continues with its business wing Mon Power
announcing plans to invest around $60.0 million for the upgrade
of electrical systems in 34 West Virginia counties.
The upgrade plan in West Virginia includes extending the
distribution system to new service areas, installation of
transformers, inspection and replacement of electric poles and
accelerating vegetation management projects. These activities
will bring greater service reliability and equip FirstEnergy to
handle future load growth.
Per the plan, $11.0 million will be shelled out for expanding
distribution assets to include new residential and commercial
consumers. A $7.0 million is allocated for boosting the
high-voltage transmission lines in the region.
Going forward, FirstEnergy will spend about $3.0 million for
carrying out the installation of a second transformer at the
Miracle Run Substation to supplement capacity and increase
reliability in the Monongalia County.
An additional $3.0 million will be spent on scrutinizing and
changing the distribution poles which is anticipated to be
concluded before winter. Further, replacement of equipment at the
Weirton Substation as well as throughout the service areas will
cost the company roughly $1.8 million.
Finally, FirstEnergy will continue its job of trimming tree
limbs and other vegetation that often disrupts power services
during heavy storms. The areas marked for this job include the
counties of Clarksburg, Elkins, Fairmont, Kingwood, Lewisburg,
Morgantown and Parkersburg.
Earlier, FirstEnergy's subsidiaries Ohio Edison, Cleveland
Electric Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison and Jersey Central
Power & Light have all announced their utility asset
modernization plans. Ohio Edison and Cleveland Electric will
spend a respective $275.0 million and $152.0 million. Toledo
Edison and Jersey Central will invest approximately $11.0 million
and $200.0 million, respectively.
We anticipate FirstEnergy to benefit from its strong midstream
initiatives and its focus on the natural gas business. Besides,
the expenditure for asset upgrade is already included in Mon
Power's rates which will lead to customer retention as well as
maintain its competitiveness in the market.
FirstEnergy presently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other
utility stocks to look out for are Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy)
Brookfield Infrastructures Partners L.P.
Pike Electric Corporation
Empresa Nacional Electricidad SA
Based in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy engages in the generation,
transmission and distribution of electricity in the United
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