Aiming to significantly reduce storm-related power outages, PPL Electric Utilities will rebuild a key power line that serves nearly 7,000 homes and businesses in the Emmaus, Pennsylvania, area. The new line will be “storm hardened,” meaning that it will be much less likely to be damaged by wind, ice and lightning storms.

“As customers in Emmaus are well aware, there were prolonged power outages in this area following Hurricane Sandy and other major storms,” said Stephanie Raymond, PPL Electric Utilities’ transmission and substations vice president. “We are determined to improve service reliability for our customers in the Emmaus area, and this project is an important step toward that goal.”

The rebuilt line is the first part of a multimillion-dollar improvement plan to strengthen electric service reliability in Emmaus. PPL Electric Utilities also is making plans to build a second power line into the area, meaning that if one line is out of service, the other can provide power to customers.

Other actions the company is taking to improve reliability and prevent storm-related outages include:


  • Removing more trees around power lines in Emmaus and throughout the region, because trees are a major cause of outages.

  • Rebuilding other electric delivery facilities to make them less vulnerable to storm damage.

  • Installing new automated devices to help crews restore power faster.

The existing 69-kV line to be rebuilt runs on PPL Electric Utilities right of way for about 1.1 mi, connecting one of PPL’s regional electric transmission lines to the Emmaus substation located off Furnace Street near South Tenth Street. It runs through a wooded area where trees often fall and strike the line, causing damage.

The rebuilt line will be somewhat taller and built on sturdier poles with stronger wires. PPL Electric Utilities will work with landowners to widen the existing right of way to keep trees farther back from the line. Also, the line will have additional lightning protection, as well as enhancements to aid in quicker power restoration. The rebuild project will cost approximately $2.8 million.

The power line serves customers in Emmaus and Salisbury and Upper Milford townships.

Engineering and planning work will begin immediately, with power line construction expected sometime in 2014. The exact construction timetable has not yet been set.

In 2013, PPL is spending nearly $1 billion on more than 250 individual projects designed to improve operations and strengthen reliability for electric customers throughout the company’s service territory.