Potomac Edison crews relocate deenergized equipment to help Proctor & Gamble expand production at its manufacturing plant in Martinsburg, W.Va.
At the heart of Potomac Edison’s service area lies Interstate 81, one of the main arteries that companies use to transport their goods up and down the East Coast. Also known as the I-81 Corridor, the road travels through Martinsburg, W.Va., where several large corporations have constructed facilities to manufacture consumer and commercial products.
“In addition to West Virginia and Maryland, I-81 passes through Pennsylvania and Virginia, so companies that locate in this area have multiple options,” said Tim Troxell, manager, Customer Accounts. “By choosing to build in and around Martinsburg, manufacturers are contributing to economic development through improved roads, schools and other infrastructure – and adding thousands of well-paying jobs for local residents. It’s a big deal for the community.”
According to Tim, commercial and industrial customers Clorox, IKO, Kite Pharma and Rockwool are each increasing their usage by 5 to 6 megawatts (MW). Combined, they are adding nearly 1,000 jobs in the area. “The companies are in different stages of development, but we expect their expansion plans will be complete by the end of the year,” he said.
Along with these companies, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) continues to expand its large manufacturing plant in Martinsburg, installing a new production line to make additional cleaning products. The facility currently produces Bounce dryer sheets, body washes, dish soaps and a variety of shampoos, including Pantene and Head & Shoulders.
To ensure P&G and the other companies have safe and reliable electric service, multiple infrastructure enhancement projects were completed in the area. These projects included extending several 34.5-kilovolt (kV) lines to deliver electricity to the facilities and installing a new substation when the P&G complex was originally constructed.
Although the companies use automated processes to manufacture many of the items, a highly trained workforce is still needed to operate the equipment. Tim said that is another benefit that enticed these businesses to locate their manufacturing facilities in the area.
“The people who live in this region have built a reputation for being hard workers,” continued Tim. “It’s always been a manufacturing and agricultural area, where people get up early, put in a full day of work, and then get ready for the next day. Working hard and doing a good job is ingrained into the workforce and part of the culture of the area.”
Tim added: “Even with the challenges faced during the COVID-19 health emergency, manufacturing is alive and well in Potomac Edison’s service territory. As local businesses continue to grow, we will work with them to meet their energy needs.”