PPL Electric Utilities presented its plans to improve electric service reliability for customers by building a new 11-mi power line in Columbia and Montour counties at a recent public open house.

The new 69-kV power line will be built entirely on existing utility right of way from Washingtonville, Montour County, to Millville, Columbia County. It will improve service by helping PPL Electric Utilities meet growing demand for electricity in the area. It also will make it easier for the company to reroute power when necessary to keep the lights on for as many customers as possible if problems occur.

“Keeping the public informed is a key part of this project. We want area residents to be able to ask questions and share their comments,” said David E. Schleicher, vice president of Transmission for PPL Electric Utilities. “As always, we will work hard to minimize impacts of the power line while strengthening the system that serves local customers.”
Schleicher said using existing PPL Electric Utilities’ right of way – rather than having to acquire new right of way in areas where there are not already power lines – is a key part of the company’s plan to minimize the impact of the new line.

The first 2 mi of power line will be located on PPL property in Derry Township, Montour County. From there, the line will continue for more than 6 mi east-northeast along the path of an existing 230-kV power line through Derry and Madison Township, Columbia County. It will then head north for more than 2 mi along an existing, unused utility right of way through Greenwood Township, Columbia County, before ending at an existing substation in Millville.

Currently, only one 69-kV transmission line from the Bloomsburg area serves customers in the Millville, Rohrsburg and Benton areas. A second pathway to bring power into the area will help to improve reliability. The new line could also be used to reroute power to the Washingtonville area, if needed.

“The new power line will enable the company to more quickly restore service to customers by supplying power to the area from a different source, if needed,” Schleicher said. “It will also help us meet growing demand for electricity because customers have been using more electricity every year.”

The company plans to start construction of the new power line in late 2009 and begin operation by the end of 2010.