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FirstEnergy Corp. plans to invest an additional $2.8 billion over four years to expand its previously announced Energizing the Future transmission initiative.

According to the company, the main focus of the initial construction effort will be the 69 kV transmission power lines and substations in the Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., Toledo Edison and Penn Power areas.

As part of this program, FirstEnergy says that approximately 7,200 circuit miles of 69 kV and higher transmission lines will be evaluated and rebuilt, as needed. In addition, more than 170 substations will be inspected and upgraded, along with 70,000 transmission structures that will be evaluated and rebuilt, as needed.

The program is expected to be expanded into other FirstEnergy service territories during the next several years, the company notes.

"Our work on the backbone of our network will focus on enhancing the service reliability to the communities, businesses and homes in our service areas," says Anthony J. Alexander, president and CEO at FirstEnergy. "The average age for much of this equipment is more than 40 years old. Our goal is to replace outdated equipment with state-of-the-art smart technology that can be operated remotely in order to help prevent some outages from occurring. And if an outage does occur, the new equipment can help reduce the number of customers who are affected and shorten the duration."

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