Four PPL Electric Utilities transmission line improvement projects — two of them in Lancaster County — were approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in October.

The projects represent more than $54 million in investments in the electric delivery system across the utility’s 10,000-square-mile service territory in eastern and central Pennsylvania.

Three of the approved projects involve replacing lines dating to the 1920s and 1930s. “Moving forward on this work will benefit our customers in increased reliability. These lines, while they served our customers well for decades, are past their useful life and need to be replaced,” said David Bonenberger, general manager of Transmission Operations.

The projects are part of a much larger electric infrastructure investment of $3.4 billion scheduled to occur from 2011-2015 – the first phase of an expanded capital program to maintain and upgrade the system, strengthen reliability, and address aging infrastructure.

“This effort involves not only replacing older lines, but also building new lines and substations, implementing additional smart grid technology and other work to provide safe, reliable service for our customers,” Bonenberger said.

Projects approved by the PUC were:

  • Whitpain-Buxmont: The estimated $11.2 million project involves replacing an existing 8-mile transmission line for customers in Montgomery County. Built more than 80 years ago, the line is a 230-kV transmission line that runs through Salford, Franconia, Lower Salford and Towamencin townships. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2013, with the line in operation in spring 2014.
  • Manor-Graceton: This $22.7 million project involves rebuilding a 230-kilovolt line in Manor Township in Lancaster County and Chanceford, Lower Chanceford and Peach Bottom townships in York county. The existing transmission line was constructed in the 1930s. Replacement is necessary to improve reliability and reduce maintenance expense. Construction is planned to start in August.
  • Otter Creek-Conastone: PPL Electric Utilities plans to invest $16.8 million to replace the Otter Creek-Conastone 230-kV transmission line in Chanceford, Hopewell and East Hopewell townships in York County. The existing transmission line was constructed in the 1930s. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2013 and be completed in spring 2014.
  • South Akron-Dillerville: This project, estimated at nearly $4 million, is part of a larger effort to upgrade transmission lines in central Lancaster County from 69- to 138-kV operation to meet increasing electric demand in the Lancaster area. The main portion of the South Akron-Dillerville project will increase the operating voltage of about 12 miles of transmission line in East Hempfield, Manheim, Warwick and West Earl townships, as well as the city of Lancaster.