Work in progress to modernize the power supply system of The Illuminating Company in Parma

the Illuminating Company, a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary, is modernizing the electrical infrastructure in Parma, Cuyahoga County, to strengthen the local power grid and avoid long service interruptions, especially in the event of severe weather events. Work includes installing new automated equipment and technology at substations and along neighborhood power lines serving nearly 15,000 area residents and businesses.

“The work underway in Parma will provide new technology and backup power lines to thousands of our customers and reduce many power outages to just a brief or momentary outage,” said Ed Shuttleworth, FirstEnergy’s president of operations in Ohio. “This project complements upgrades made throughout our service area over the past several years, which have resulted in fewer and shorter outages, particularly during severe weather.”

Utilities personnel are upgrading the electrical equipment at two local substations as well as the power lines that provide electrical service to customers from these facilities. Hundreds of area homes and businesses will benefit from the installation of 41 new automated reclosing devices in substations and along power lines to help limit the frequency, duration and extent of power outages. service.

These electrical devices work like a circuit breaker in a house that shuts off power in the event of a problem, with the added benefit of automatically reactivating a substation or power line in seconds for certain types of outages to maintain power. safely from customers. This technology is safer and more efficient as it often allows utility staff to automatically restore service to customers rather than dispatching a team to investigate.

If the device detects a more serious problem, such as a fallen tree on electrical equipment, it will isolate the fault to that area and limit the total number of affected customers. The device’s smart technology will quickly pinpoint the location of the outage and help utility personnel better understand the cause of the outage to expedite restoration.

The project also includes the creation of additional circuit links along the power lines that will allow greater flexibility to restore an outage more quickly. A single circuit can serve thousands of customers, which means that an outage due to a falling tree on a power line could affect all customers served by that circuit. Circuit links essentially divide the circuit into sections, isolating outages in fewer areas and reducing the total number of customers affected during an outage by switching them to a different circuit for faster restoration of service.

Finally, nearly 35 capacitor banks are being installed to ensure that all customers served by a single power line receive the same safe and reliable power flow by distributing power evenly across the line. These devices are expected to reduce power consumption for customers served near the start of a power line, as they will benefit from lower voltages fed into their homes or businesses.

Work underway in Parma began in November and is expected to be completed in 2022. Similar work is planned in the Shaker Heights and Cleveland city neighborhoods over the next six months.