By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
FirstEnergy has its year planned out with different projects that will benefit the company’s customers.
Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy’s president of West Virginia operations, said the company has projects that will focus on the Mon Power utilities. Each year, Mon Power spends millions of dollars trying to make its electrical infrastructure better for its customers.
Kauffman said these projects are naturally planned from year to year. She said they want to let customers know what the company has planned for 2013.
“We have a really dedicated staff of people,” she said. “There’s more people working around the clock making sure that not only are we handling the outages as they come, but also working when we’re not having outages.”
Mon Power is spending $60 million on eight projects this year, and some have already started.
Kauffman said spending that amount isn’t unusual.
“We usually spend around $60-65 million each year on those types of projects,” she said.
The projects will affect North Central West Virginia, with the biggest project focusing on tree trimming. Kauffman said the company will spend $34 million on trimming trees near power lines.
“Tree trimming, which is something obviously after the derecho, has been a big area of interest,” she said.
Kauffman said strong storms are why the company wanted to focus more on clearing trees and branches from lines. She said they can only trim and cut trees that are in the company’s right of way of the power lines.
“We don’t have the authority to trim beyond our rights of way,” Kauffman said.