FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiaries Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power), West Penn Power Company (West Penn Power), Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed) and Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) recently received approval from the Public Utility Commission (PPUC) for Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plans that will result in a total of an additional $245 million being spent on capital investments over the next five years.
"The improvement plans for each utility are designed to complement the work we already do to reduce the number and duration of outages our customers experience," said Linda Moss, FirstEnergy's president of Pennsylvania Operations. "The plans will help us accelerate the vital work that targets enhancing service reliability."
Planned projects include replacing underground cable, installing new fuses and sectionalizing devices on overhead wires, replacing aging circuit breakers and transformers in substations and replacing additional wooden poles.
Approximately $56 million of the work is expected to be completed in 2016 in the utilities' service areas, with the remainder being spent over the next four years that the plans will be in place.
The costs associated with these service reliability investments will be recovered by the FirstEnergy utilities through Distribution System Improvement Charges (DSICs) that were filed Tuesday with the PUC.
For an average FirstEnergy residential customer in Pennsylvania, the DSICs will initially result in about a $0.06 increase in their monthly bill, and will be updated quarterly. The companies have requested that the DSICs take effect July 1, 2016.
The Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plans and DSICs were authorized by Pennsylvania Act 11, which was approved in 2012, establishing a process to encourage electric, natural gas, water and sewer utilities in Pennsylvania to accelerate investments in aging infrastructure and help create economic benefits.
FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities have, on average, the lowest rates in the state among investor-owned electric distribution companies. If approved, the new rates would still, on average, be lower than the average rates charged today by other Pennsylvania utilities.
The rate impact for each FirstEnergy utility, including the Long Term Infrastructure Improvement Plans and associated DSICs are:
— Penn Power is proposing to spend an additional $56 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would initially increase $0.15, for a new monthly total bill of$139.37.
— West Penn Power is expecting to spend an additional $88 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would initially increase $0.03, for a new monthly total bill of $113.37.
— Penelec is planning to spend an additional $57 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh a month would initially increase $0.03, for a new monthly bill of $143.03.
— Met-Ed is proposing to spend an additional $43 million during the next five years. If approved, the total bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would initially increase $0.02, for a new monthly bill of $139.68.
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 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.For more information, visit the PUC’s Distribution System Improvement Charges webpage.