As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the durability and flexibility of its electric system, FirstEnergy plans to invest nearly $100m in infrastructure upgrades in its Toledo Edison service area in 2014. This represents about a $25m increase over what the company invested in reliability and infrastructure projects in the region last year.

Major projects scheduled for 2014 include breaking ground on a new transmission substation, upgrading transmission lines and distribution circuits, transformer additions at two transmission substations, inspecting and replacing overhead and underground circuits and utility poles as needed, and ongoing tree trimming work.

"When combined with the dedicated work of our employees, these infrastructure projects have helped Toledo Edison earn the most reliable service record of any public electric utility in Ohio over the last several years," said Linda Moss, regional president of Toledo Edison. "These investments have paid off for our customers, reducing the number and length of service interruptions across our service area, and our plan for 2014 is to continue improving our system."

Of FirstEnergy’s nearly $100 million infrastructure investment in the region for 2014, almost $59 million will be for transmission-related projects built and owned by American Transmission Systems Incorporated, a FirstEnergy transmission company.

The various projects are expected to provide both localized and widespread benefits to Toledo Edison’s customers in northwest Ohio and include:

Beginning the construction of a new 345 kilovolt (kV) substation in Middleton Township in Wood County, scheduled to be completed in 2015. Spending on this project in 2014 will be about $18 million.

Continuing work on a 48-mile transmission line connecting several substations to help strengthen the grid and increase flexibility in routing power at a cost of $14 million in 2014.

Adding transformers at area substations to increase their capacity at a cost of more than $12 million.

Replacing and upgrading equipment in several substations to help increase system reliability and reduce downtime. This work will include new circuit breakers, line spacers and insulators at a cost of more than $3 million.

Inspecting and replacing utility poles in Clyde, Fremont, Defiance, Green Springs, Swanton and Toledo. This inspection process is conducted on a 10-year cycle. Inspections began in January, with replacement work scheduled to be performed throughout the year at a cost of more than $3 million.

Replacing and upgrading electrical equipment and vault tops in the downtown Toledo underground electrical network. While underground facilities are generally protected from severe weather events, restoration of this equipment to service can take longer than restoring traditional overhead equipment.

Upgrading equipment on distribution circuits in Toledo, Northwood, Weston, and Woodville. The improvements include adding and replacing lightning protection, insulators, cross arms, braces, grounds and animal guards on key distribution lines.

Continuing Toledo Edison’s ongoing tree trimming program to maintain proper clearances and help harden distribution and transmission facilities against tree-related storm damage. Some of the communities scheduled for work this year include Defiance, Maumee, Perrysburg, Rossford, Sylvania, and Toledo.

A new 138kV transmission supply line to accommodate load growth in Troy Township in Wood County.

Relocation and upgrading of Toledo Edison transmission and distribution facilities in support of the City of Toledo’s Dorr Street Widening Project and the Ohio Department of Transportation’s McCord Road Underpass/Roundabout Project in Lucas County.