If an open house held in Macedonia Thursday evening is any indication, FirstEnergy won't have much of a fight re-stringing high-powered lines from Western Pennsylvania more than a hundred miles west into Northeast Ohio.
About two dozen people attended the event in the cafeteria of Nordonia High School. It was one of the more well-attended opportunities for the public and local government officials to offer comments on the plan.
The utility plans to spend millions over the next two and a half years to rebuild, including parts of Portage and Summit Counties before terminating in Glenwillow just north of the Summit-Cuyahoga border. In addition to stringing new power line using 70% of it's existing inventory of towers, the power company expects to use existing rights-of-way that would minimize impact on the public, said company spokesman Todd Schneider. He also said planning is underway on a new substation that would serve northeast Ohio as coal-fired electric plants along the Lake Erie shoreline are closed.
Schneider says the rewiring is important to assure continued reliability of the utility's electric grid. That's the backbone of the electric distribution system that allows utilities to move power from region to region to serve and meet demand.
State regulators need to approve the plan; it's part of FirstEnergy's power grid upgrades planned that would cost almost a billion dollars over the next five years across the utility's footprint extending from Ohio to New Jersey.
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