Back to top

Image: Bigstock

FirstEnergy (FE) Maintains Infrastructure to be Winter-Ready

Read MoreHide Full Article

Subsidiaries of FirstEnergy Corp. (FE - Free Report) work consistently to upgrade and maintain infrastructure to enhance the reliability of its services, efficiently cater to increasing demand along with providing greater flexibility to restore power during power outages. Thus, before the winters, subsidiaries are conducting inspections and completing equipment maintenance across its service areas.

The work includes tuning up heating equipment for substation components and the winterization of substation buildings. Besides, FE undertakes helicopter inspections and tree trimming work throughout the year to ensure no vegetation-related outage happens.

Need for Maintenance

A fall in the temperature accompanied with heavy snowfall and wind movement not only increases demand for electricity but also creates a threat to electric infrastructure. These inspections and maintenance work ensure a steady flow of electricity during harsh winter weather and lower the possibility of outages.

FirstEnergy is working consistently on maintaining its infrastructure to serve its six million customers more efficiently. Per the ‘Energizing the Future’ plan, FE aims to invest up to $5.15 billion during the 2020-2023 time period to enhance and expand its regulated transmission capabilities. Part of the $2.9-billion planned capital expenditure for 2021 will be invested in the above-mentioned capex program.

Utilities Focus on Infrastructure

To provide 24X7 electricity supply to consumers, utilities are investing heavily in strengthening their infrastructure. They are replacing old transmission and distribution lines, undergrounding distribution lines and adopting technological upgrade to increase the resilience of infrastructure for withstanding the impact of hurricanes, storms, extreme winters and other natural calamities. To name a few are Xcel Energy (XEL - Free Report) , NiSource (NI - Free Report) and Pinnacle West Capital (PNW - Free Report) .

Xcel Energy continues to invest substantially in its utility assets to provide reliable services to its customers and effectively meet rising electricity demand. These investments are aimed to strengthen and expand its transmission, distribution, electric generation and renewable projects. XEL aims to spend $26 billion during the 2022-2026 time frame, which includes $1.5-$2.5 billion of incremental opportunities.

NiSource is working on a long-term utility infrastructure modernization program and made capital investments worth $1.8 billion and $1.3 billion in 2020 and during the first nine months of 2021, respectively. NI estimated $40-billion long-term natural gas and electric infrastructure investment opportunities, which are expected to drive earnings beyond 2024. Also, in 2021, NiSource plans to spend $2 billion and over the 2022-2024 time frame, aims to invest in the $7.7-$8.6 billion range.

To efficiently serve its expanding customer base, Pinnacle West Capital has systematic investment plans to increase generation and strengthen its transmission and distribution lines. After investing $1,262 million in 2020, it spent $1,006.4 million in the first nine months of 2021, up from $971.1 million registered in the prior-year comparable period. PNW plans to invest $6,210 million during the 2021-2024 forecast period, with the current-year expectation being $1,500 million to solidify and extend its existing infrastructure.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

In the past six months, shares of this currently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) FirstEnergy have gained 3.5%, outperforming the industry’s rise of 1.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Six Months Price Performance

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research