Making the Transition to Transmission

Mobile Maintenance employees received training to handle large-scale work in transmission facilities, including earth-moving and trenching.

August 23, 2019

When FirstEnergy transitioned to a fully regulated utility, the talents of Fleet Operations’ Mobile Maintenance employees put them in a unique position to expand their work companywide.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been,” said Phil Sammons, manager, Mobile Maintenance. “Not only are we assisting in outages and projects for the regulated generating plants, we’re now taking on an increasing amount of field work on the transmission side of the company.”

Mobile Maintenance includes 55 employees who support the regulated generation plants during scheduled outage work, forced outages and many other projects throughout the year. Earlier this year, members of the group began a series of training sessions, learning to use specialized equipment necessary for large-scale work in transmission facilities, including earth-moving and trenching.

“This is all work that previously would have been performed by outside contractors,” said Dan Rossero, vice president, Fleet Operations. “Now we have skilled generation employees working hand-in-hand with our transmission operations to ensure the highest quality of work and provide reliable service to our customers.”

Since early spring, Mobile Maintenance crews have been performing significant work in the Penelec-owned transmission yard at the Keystone Power Plant in Armstrong County, Pa. So far work has included excavation and pouring of transformer foundations, trenching for and installation of 20-kilovolt (kV) cabling, pouring concrete piers for a new bus and breaker, and running cable from the transmission yard to the plant control room for control and alarm cables.

“Right now, we’re installing a runoff containment system,” said Harold Lemasters, Mobile Maintenance supervisor, “including drain lines and a filtration system.”

Mobile Maintenance crews have also spent much of the summer at transmission yards across Ohio, including Longview, East Springfield and Akron. The work has focused on installing the infrastructure for security systems, including remote security camera cabling conduit and other upgrades to comply with the new North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards – duties that required employees to undergo additional specialized training.

And there is still work aplenty in regulated generation. Mobile Maintenance employees travel to facilities across the fleet footprint. The group is currently preparing for a largescale outage at the Yards Creek Generating Station this fall that is expected to take several months.

A Mobile Maintenance team at work in the transmission yard at the Keystone Power Station.