FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) said its 15 generating stations in six states are prepared to operate reliably through the winter.
The utility said three nuclear power plants, six coal-fired power plants, nine hydro and wind facilities and six oil and natural gas-fired plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois have completed comprehensive preventive maintenance work to ensure safe operations through the winter season. The fleet generates 17,000 MW of electricity. Plant operators installed storm barriers to protect plant equipment from winter weather, set up heating elements that provide additional warmth to piping, provided temporary heaters in areas most susceptible to cold, added anti-freeze to equipment, and increased fuel stockpiles at coal-fired facilities.
Operators also run water pumps more often to avoid freezing, keep oil flow within transformers more constant and take precautions to keep cooling towers from freezing. FirstEnergy remains in constant contact with grid operator PJM Interconnection LLC to avoid scheduling maintenance during high peak demand. The company spent more than $60 million on reliability upgrades at the Springdale natural gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania, and has a backup transformer on site at the Beaver Valley nuclear plant.