Philadelphia-based PECO has allocated more than $500 million in its 2010 capital investment plan for new electric and natural gas facilities, system improvements, and new technology upgrades to ensure service reliability, meet increased demand, and address regulatory changes.

The capital program reflects about a 25 percent increase over last year with $42 million more for construction of new electric and gas facilities to modernize utility equipment and meet increased demand in certain areas, $22.7 million for smart grid/smart meter development and energy efficiency programs, and nearly $18 million more for technology upgrades for its customer information management system and related platforms.

Denis O'Brien, president and CEO, said PECO has invested nearly $1.78 billion over the past five years mainly for improvements in its electric and gas delivery systems, and the capital plan for 2010 is the company’s largest ever. “Each year, our capital investments are geared toward reliably meeting the energy demand of consumers in the Philadelphia region this year and in the years ahead, supporting regional economic growth and quality customer service,” he said.

The capital plan includes funds for projects to expand electric and gas capacity, corrective maintenance and system performance work, installations for new business, relocation of utility facilities for public roadway improvements, upgrades of gas distribution facilities, mobile data and engineering design technologies.

Among the highlights are:

  • two new electric substations in South Philadelphia and a new facility in Peach Bottom Township, York County.
  • a new electric transmission substation in Worcester Twp., Montgomery County.
  • upgrades and expansion of substations in Warminster, Plymouth, Holmesburg, Upper Providence, and Landenberg.
  • increased use of distribution automation for improved electric reliability, particularly in Chester County, and new distribution circuits to meet increased demand and provide better reliability in the Malvern, Jennersville and Plymouth areas.
  • several projects that involve “reconductoring” high-voltage transmission lines in the city and suburbs to handle increased load.
  • and new facilities to support construction of the casinos, the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and other new residential and commercial development.

Many of PECO’s system performance upgrades include investments in distribution monitoring and automation, or stem from the company’s annual patrols of all distribution circuits, transmission facilities, and other engineering analysis to identify new equipment needed to enhance reliability of electric service.