AKRON, OH – Utility company FirstEnergy Corp. is investing approximately $110 million in nearly 850 new vehicles in order to enhance crew safety and deliver improved service to its customers. FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries operate a fleet of 9,549 assets, including vehicles, construction equipment, and trailers.
To start, the company said it will acquire the vehicles by the end of the year. The new vehicles replace many units that are more than 10 years old. The vehicles in the fleet are a mix of pickup trucks, vans, and “line” trucks, aerial units or digger derricks. FirstEnergy has a number of subsidiaries, and each is getting a group of vehicles to replace older models.
All of the following utilities are owned by FirstEnergy and are part of the overall investment in new vehicles. The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (CEI) is investing more than $12 million in 105 new vehicles for line crews and other front-line service employees. Potomac Edison is investing $900,000 in 16 new vehicles that employees throughout Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia will use. Ohio Edison is investing $14 million 106 new vehicles. Toledo Edison is investing more than $9 million in 50. West Penn Power is investing more than $750,000 in 35. Mon Power is investing more than $300,000 in 12. Penn Power is investing more than $2.5 million in 18. Met-Ed is investing nearly $16 million in 140, and Penelec is investing more than $20 million in 165 new vehicles. Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) will be receiving 233 new vehicles (of which 100 are aerial units) at an investment of more than $27 million.
Automotive Fleet contacted the company to find out more about the vehicles the company is acquiring. According to Patti L. Michel, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy, the pickup trucks and vans are from Ford, and the line trucks are Freightliner chassis outfitted with equipment from Altec. She added that all of the vehicles are built to FirstEnergy’s specifications.
The line trucks are equipped with work lighting, spot lighting, and safety lighting gear in order to create a safe work area during day and nighttime operations. Many of the lights on the vehicles are LED based, and the LED lights put less demand on each vehicle’s battery and electrical system while providing equal or better lighting, the spokesperson said. The new material handling units are equipped with a hydraulic jib feature, and many of the Line vehicles come with hydraulic tools.
Depending on the model, many of the truck bodies are partially or completely aluminum, which reduces weight and provides for superior longevity and appearance. The reduced weight enhances payload capacity or fuel economy, depending on the vehicle’s application.
The new vehicles are also more environmentally friendly. The diesel trucks’ engines are each equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction system, which results in close to zero toxic emissions.
Overall, the fleet purchases are designed to help the company operate a more sustainable, safe, and efficient fleet and to help its crews do their jobs more effectively.
By Greg Basich