Penn Power expands Smart Grid in Mercer, Crawford counties

© Penn Power/FirstEnergy

Sharon-based Penn Power announced Monday it would continue to expand its Smart Grid in Mercer and Crawford counties.

The work, the company said, would reinforce the local power system and help prevent service disruptions. Work includes installing new automated equipment and technology, the company said.

“Penn Power has made significant investments in smart grid technologies in recent years, helping enhance our reliability performance and piloting new devices that our sister utilities have since begun to implement successfully within their own service areas,” said Scott Wyman, president of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania operations. “We remain committed to modernizing the technology and equipment used to provide safe, dependable electric service to our customers.”

The work, part of Penn Power’s second phase Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan (LTIIP II), approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to help enhance electric service, will be primarily in Sharon, Sharpsville, Hermitage, Transfer, Greenville, West Middlesex, Hartstown, Conneaut and nearby areas, the company said. Work is expected to be completed by December. The expansion is part of the company’s investments into the local energy grid to reduce the number and length of service disruptions, especially ones due to weather. Previous investments, the company said, have resulted in fewer, shorter outages.

Crews will install nearly 30 new automated reclosing devices in substations and along neighborhood power lines. The devices work like circuit breakers and shut off power when trouble occurs. In certain circumstances, the device can restore power within seconds. When more serious issues arise, the devices can isolate outage areas to limit the number of affected customers. Additionally, crews will install automated voltage regulators to ensure safe, constant voltage levels on extremely cold or hot days that typically create a high demand for electricity.

Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Corp. company, provides electricity to more than 160,00 customers throughout western Pennsylvania.