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FirstEnergy Corp. plans to invest about $176 million this year on service reliability infrastructure upgrades in its Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (CEI) northeast Ohio service territory. The company has previously announced significant infrastructure investments in other Ohio territories and New Jersey.

According to FirstEnergy, major projects scheduled for this year include building new substations, installing voltage-regulating equipment, rebuilding and upgrading circuits, and continuing tree-trimming work, including a special program to remove trees endangered by the Emerald Ash Borer.

FirstEnergy notes that more than $66 million will be for transmission-related projects built and owned by American Transmission Systems Inc., a FirstEnergy transmission company.

"Our goal is to build redundancy and resiliency into our system as we continue to reduce the number and duration of outages our customers might experience," comments John Skory, regional president at CEI. "From building new substations to inspecting underground circuits and trimming trees, our primary objective is to enhance the reliability of our system."

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