WILLIAMSPORT — Potomac Edison is spending $3 million to renovate its Williamsport Service Center on Bower Avenue, a project that will result in better service to local customers, according to a company spokesman.
Todd Meyers said the project started at the end of July and should be finished by the end of the year. The renovated 30,000-square-foot facility will include a fitness center and a “special hazard room,” staffed with as many as 16 dispatchers and engineers to address emergencies, such as storm damage, Meyers said.
He said those duties currently are carried out at a centralized office in Greensburg, Pa.
“It will let us do things in real time right there in Williamsport,” Meyers said. “The idea is to decentralize ... and put these folks much closer to the action. We are putting a heavier emphasis on dispatching locally.”
Meyers said most of the engineers and dispatchers will be transferred from their current positions at other Potomac Edison facilities to Williamsport. He said the service center should add about 40 positions “in the coming years.”
On the downside, the facility will lose about 20 employees who work in a warehouse at the service center that stores transformers and other electrical equipment, Meyers said. Those workers will be transferred to other Potomac Edison facilities, including ones in Frederick, Md., and Cumberland, Md.
“They’ll probably have to go somewhere different,” he said. “They’ve been kept abreast of the situation.”
Meyers said the Williamsport facility still will have some supplies available, but a bulk of the items will be moved to a warehouse in Reading, Pa.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t have the supplies on-hand,” he said. “We can still get stuff down here in a number of hours.”
Meyers said the renovated service center will be retrofitted with energy-saving upgrades, such as energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning, and low-flow water fixtures.
He said the building will house about 130 employees working in utility operations, administration, engineering, human resources and external affairs.
Potomac Edison is using numerous local contractors to complete the construction, and a minimum of 20 percent of the dollars spent on the project for services and materials will benefit minority business enterprises, according to a company news release.
Waynesboro Construction Co. of Frederick, Md., was selected as the general contractor through a competitive bidding process, the release said.
Other local firms working on the project or providing services and materials include Bushey Feight Morin Architects of Hagerstown, RHL Engineering Co. of Frederick, Mick’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning of Thurmont, Ellsworth Electric of Hagerstown, Cavetown Planing Mill of Cavetown, Dorsey Bros. Floor & Wall Covering of Hagerstown, Crown Inc. (painting) of Hagerstown and Spectrum Fire Protection of Williamsport.
Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy electric distribution company, serves about 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties.