First Energy to upgrade electrical system inspections
First Energy customers in Austintown waited seven hours for their power to be restored after equipment failed at a substation on Kimberly Road. First Energy spokesperson, Lauren Siburkis tells 21 News all of their equipment is inspected once a year, but they can't catch every issue.
"There are some areas where our equipment is exposed to tougher conditions in the weather," Siburkis said.
Siburkis says since the regular inspections weren't enough to catch issues in this case, they now will need to try a new tactic to catch damage that may not be immediately visible.
"We will increase our patrols in the area using thermal vision inspections and basically what that will do is show bright spots using infrared technology," she said.
Siburkis says today's outages are not related to other equipment failures that led to a series of outages in Girard over the summer.
She says in that case, the issue involved a different type of line and that the company is making extensive upgrades to make the grid more reliable.
"In addition to some of the enhanced inspections in the area, in addition to all of the smart grid upgrades that we're doing in the region, it really will help prevent or at least minimize the impact of outages," Siburkis said.
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