GREENSBURG, Pa., Sept. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Crews from FirstEnergy Corp.'s (NYSE: FE) Pennsylvania utilities are now using smart phones and laptop computers to more efficiently assess damage to the electrical system and help expedite power restoration efforts in the wake of major storm events.
When severe weather causes power outages, Pennsylvania Power (Penn Power), West Penn Power, Metropolitan Edison (Met-Ed) and Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) personnel make it a priority to identify and address safety issues, such as downed wires and other hazards, as well as conducting an initial assessment of the damage to send back to dispatchers.
To help expedite this process, FirstEnergy has developed two new apps that employees can use on mobile devices to automatically enter damage information into the company's outage management system. In the past, this process relied on paper maps, hand written notes and phone calls between field responders and dispatch offices.
"The new storm restoration apps are part of our ongoing efforts to use advanced technology to enhance service reliability for customers and help reduce the duration of power outages following severe weather," said Linda Moss, president of Pennsylvania Operations for FirstEnergy. "Because the information will automatically be transferred from the field to our utility outage management systems, these new tools should help our dispatchers prioritize hazards and direct the appropriate crews to the damaged locations where we can get the most customers restored to service in the shortest amount of time."
The new hazard app on company smart phones allows responders in the field to take photographs of damage, electronically document hazardous situations, identify trees that need to be removed before repairs can be made and provide comments about the scope of the damage, all to help clear the hazards quickly. In the event of a downed wire, the responder will remain on site to guard the area until the proper crew arrives to clear the hazard.
Once the hazard assessment is complete, repair crews can use the new damage assessment app on company laptops to develop an itemized list of materials and equipment needed to make repairs at damaged locations. The app uses a highly detailed map showing Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power circuits, complete with the location of poles, transformers and other pieces of electrical equipment.
More than 425 FirstEnergy employees in Pennsylvania have been trained to use the new apps and have been issued company smart phones or laptops for use during storms.
The new apps have been deployed at all of FirstEnergy's utilities, which can help speed the restoration process when crews from one FirstEnergy utility travel to another to provide mutual assistance following severe weather.
Penn Power serves approximately 161,000 customers within 1,100 square miles of western Pennsylvania. West Penn Power serves approximately 720,000 customers within 10,400 square miles of central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Met-Ed serves about 560,000 customers within 3,300 square miles of eastern and southeastern Pennsylvania. Penelec serves nearly 600,000 customers within 17,600 square miles of northern and central Pennsylvania.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com and follow FirstEnergy and its Pennsylvania utilities on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @W_Penn_Power, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestPennPower, www.facebook.com/MetEdElectric, www.facebook.com/pennpower, and www.facebook.com/PenelecElectric.
Editor's Note: Photos of the new hazard and damage assessment apps are available for download on Flickr.
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(PJM) markets and FERC-jurisdictional wholesale transactions; FERC regulation of cost-of-service rates, including FERC Opinion No. 531's revised Return on Equity methodology for FERC-jurisdictional wholesale generation and transmission utility service; and FERC's compliance and enforcement activity, including compliance and enforcement activity related to North American Electric Reliability Corporation's mandatory reliability standards; the uncertainties of various cost recovery and cost allocation issues resulting from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM; economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins such as a polar vortex or other significant weather events, and all associated regulatory events or actions; changing energy, capacity and commodity market prices including, but not limited to, coal, natural gas and oil, and their availability and impact on margins and asset valuations; the continued ability of our regulated utilities to recover their costs; costs being higher than anticipated and the success of our policies to control costs and to mitigate low energy, capacity and market prices; other legislative and regulatory changes, and revised environmental requirements, including, but not limited to, proposed water discharge regulations and the effects of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, coal combustion residuals regulations, Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, including our estimated costs of compliance, and Clean Water Act 316(b) water intake regulation; the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures that may arise in connection with any litigation, including New Source Review litigation, or potential regulatory initiatives or rulemakings (including that such initiatives or rulemakings could result in our decision to deactivate or idle certain generating units); the uncertainties associated with the deactivation of certain older regulated and competitive fossil units, including the impact on vendor commitments, and the timing thereof as they relate to the reliability of the transmission grid; the impact of other future changes to the operational status or availability of our generating units and any capacity penalties associated with outages at a given unit; adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes with respect to our nuclear operations (including, but not limited to the revocation or non-renewal of necessary licenses, approvals or operating permits by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or as a result of the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant); issues arising from the indications of cracking in the shield building at Davis-Besse; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings, including, but not limited to, any such proceedings related to vendor commitments; the impact of labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or not fully hedged; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in customers' demand for power, including, but not limited to, changes resulting from the implementation of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, the ability to continue to reduce costs and to successfully execute our financial plans designed to improve our credit metrics and strengthen our balance sheet through, among other actions, our previously-implemented dividend reduction, our cash flow improvement plan and our other proposed capital raising initiatives; our ability to improve electric commodity margins and the impact of, among other factors, the increased cost of fuel and fuel transportation on such margins; changing market conditions that could affect the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our Nuclear Decommissioning Trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause us and/or our subsidiaries to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger than currently anticipated; the impact of changes to material accounting policies; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our announced financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us and our subsidiaries; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect us and/or our subsidiaries' access to financing, increase the costs thereof, and increase requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us, our subsidiaries and/or our major industrial and commercial customers, and other counterparties with which we do business, including fuel suppliers; the impact of any changes in tax laws or regulations or adverse tax audit results or rulings; issues concerning the stability of domestic and foreign financial institutions and counterparties with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks on our electronic data centers that could compromise the information stored on our networks, including proprietary information and customer data; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.