First Energy goes to great lengths and heights to provide power - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

First Energy goes to great lengths and heights to provide power

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When it comes to getting the job done, sky's the limit for crews installing First Energy's new transmission line.

First Energy says will energize the future with utility lines stretching from Western Pennsylvania through the Valley and into Cleveland. The $133 million line runs from the company's Bruce Mansfield plant in Pennsylvania to the new Glenwillow substation in Ohio. 

Helicopters deliver workers and supplies to towers 150 feet high to power up this 114-mile stretch that's often compared to an electricity highway.

"They can connect the transmission wire to that structure, complete the work, the helicopter picks them up an then they move on to the next tower to repeat that process," said First Energy spokesperson Doug Colafella.

Crews spent Friday morning installing lines between Ravenna and Mantua in Portage County. 

It's part of First Energy's $4 billion shift away from coal-fired plants that have been phased out during the past several years to meet stiffer EPA regulations.

Customers will recoup the cost. 

Though First Energy could not provide an estimate on how much they'll be asked to pay, it does expect the charge to be "minimal" and customers could see the impact on their month bills as early as June of 2015.

Colafella says the new line boasts benefits when responding to power outages.

"By having extra set of lines, we can take the one set of lines out of service for maintenance and still have that seperate set of lines flowing power to customers, so it adds some extra redundency," Collafella said.

Using helicopters to move workers from tower to tower cuts back on construction on the ground and saves time.

"It's far more efficient than having to bring large construction vehicles across the ground to do that kind of work and move from tower to tower," Collafella says.

Helicopter crews aim to finish towers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties by the end of the summer. They'll continue to hover over the skies in Trumbull and Portage counties through October.
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