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West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has energized a new 138 kV transmission line designed to strengthen its regional transmission network, accommodate future load growth and help maintain reliable electric service for customers in Greene County, Pa.

The 14-mile transmission line connects a substation near Kirby, Pa., with a substation in Monongalia County, W.Va. Both substations were expanded and reconfigured to accommodate the new line. While the majority of the line is located in West Penn Power's service area, the West Virginia portion of the line is expected to benefit customers of Mon Power, another FirstEnergy subsidiary.

"The new transmission line provides added redundancy, making our system more robust to benefit our customers, especially with the anticipated load growth in this area," explains David McDonald, regional president of West Penn Power.

Construction on the $20 million transmission project, which includes a combination of wooden and steel structures, began last spring. As part of the design, the line also is connected with a large 500 kV substation near Mt. Morris in Greene County via a new transformer that was installed separately at a cost of about $8.5 million.

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