Looming Winter Puts Utilities On Prep Alert

Winter road near Warrensville Hts (pic: Brian Bull)
Winter road near Warrensville Hts (pic: Brian Bull)

There’s dispute among meteorologists as to whether the dreaded polar vortex will make a return this winter. But utility companies are still taking precautions for harsh cold and snowstorms in either case.

“We are finishing up inspections on about 17,000 miles of our transmission system, says Mark Durbin. He's a spokesman for FirstEnergy, a utility provider that serves a six-state region including Ohio.

"We test equipment in our substations, there’s circuit breakers and transformers, they have heaters in there that we need to make sure are operational… we also inspect our vehicles to make sure they’re ready for safe winter operations. The tree trimming work we’ve done throughout year also helps when the conditions get bad, to insure we keep the lights on for our customers.”

Last winter saw extreme and prolonged cold snaps that caused outages, as well as frozen pipes and damaged crops.

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