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1,500 Mon Valley residents will be without power in planned outage

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Almost 1,500 West Penn Power customers in the Mon Valley will be without power Thursday night.

The planned outage is scheduled from 9 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. It will mostly affect residents in Carroll Township, Washington County, as well as a few residents of Monongahela, Donora and Fallowfield.

Those who will be affected received a call from West Penn Power earlier this week, according to the company.

The planned outage comes as West Penn Power prepares system upgrades that will reduce the scope of future blackouts.

These planned outages are fairly common, said West Penn Power spokesman Todd Meyers. The company is in the midst of a 5-year, $88 million system upgrade project.

In the Mon Valley, the company is preparing to install new automated switches that will reduce the impact of future outages.

Currently, if a power line is damaged, linemen must go out to the line and activate manual switches to reroute power before beginning repairs.

With the new switches, the substation in Monongahela will be able to automatically detect problems and reroute power, meaning more people will get electricity restored more quickly.

This work will take days, possibly weeks, and can’t happen when power lines are active. Customers will be switched over to a new temporary line in the meantime, Meyers said.

That switch is happening Thursday night, Meyers said.

“This outage has been months in the making,” he said.

Planned outages typically happen in the fall and spring, when electricity usage is lowest, Meyers said. This week’s is unusual because the weather is colder than normal, he said.

Residents will probably have their power back before 5 a.m., Meyer said.

“It’s not likely it’s going to take that long, but you’re never quite sure what comes up, so you always take a bigger window than you’re hopefully going to need,” he said.

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