Power outages in Ford City may not be as wide-spread as in the past.
Special linemen enjoyed sunny weather earlier this week to install special circuit breakers in West Penn Power main distribution lines that will help isolate outages.
The work was done by an engineering contractor, Hinkles & McCoy of Blue Bell, PA, which maintains a facility here in Ford City. Their team is contracted by utility and communications companies to design, build, and maintain their infrastructure.
Foreman Jeff Shaffer stood near the entrance of Christ Prince of Peace Parish and directed workers in two separate bucket trucks under the supervision of West Penn Power inspectors.
“If something happens to the line, that fuse will blow. It helps (West Penn Power) pinpoint trouble. Before we installed this, if something happened to this line, it would take this whole block of people out of power. After we install it, it would just take this street out of power instead of taking everybody out. Just helps them pinpoint their problem so they don’t have to patrol so much line.”
Shaffer said Ford City wasn’t the only location that his company is performing the retrofit.
“First Energy is doing it all over their system in all their operating companies from Ohio to New Jersey, Pennsylvania – anywhere they have a First Energy operating company, they are doing this work,” he said.
Shaffer said the work takes about four hours per location, depending on complexity. During that time, workers reroute electricity flow to maintain service to the area so there is minimal downtime, if any.