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Mon Power Installs Laptop Computers In Service Vehicles To Enhance Utility Work

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FAIRMONT -

Mon Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is installing laptop computers into more than 250 line trucks and other field vehicles to enhance service and better manage repair work.

Officials said the biggest change customers will benefit from involves one word, and that's efficient.

"Being able to provide their customers with more accurate, timely information" is just one thing Mon Power is looking forward to in the next couple of months.

The company the $2.3 million dollar project in the fall of 2013 and hundreds of laptops are expected to installed by this summer.

Using the laptops will help crews save time by viewing work orders electronically rather than having to write down the information being phoned or radioed in the company's dispatching office.

"Those will be in the vehicles. This is for our work management initiative to provide greater efficiencies to our customers," Burnett said.

Lineman said the new technology will completely change the way they do their jobs now.

"They don't have to wait until the next day and physically hand me that order. If I'm in the area, they can dispatch that to me from the service center. That's another way it helps being efficient," said Rob Garcia, Mon Power Lineman A.

But that's not all the computers will enable them to do.

The advanced technology displays detailed maps of Mon Power's distribution and transmission systems and flags the location of other company crews working nearby.

"They can pull up turn by turn directions as well as mapping. It allows them greater efficiencies to locate to those outages and in turn be able to provide a greater estimated time of restoration for those outages," Burnett said.

Mon Power serves nearly 355 thousand customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Many of which were without power for days due to storms like Superstorm Sandy and the Derecho.

Mon Power said the new technology will get power back faster to its customers after big storms.

"We'll be able to have our lineman and electricians get to those outages quicker and be able to ultimately restore the power quicker," Burnett said.

Other FirstEnergy utilities are also installing the new computer technology in their vehicles, which allows them to coordinate and work efficiently with Mon Power crews during storm restoration efforts.

Line crews are currently in Parkersburg for training on the new computers. The project is expected to be completed by July 1.