Along the roads, main highways and rights-of-way corridors that cross the flat lands and sloping mountains of north central Pennsylvania, PPL Electric Utilities is at work upgrading power lines, modernizing facilities, building new substations and making other improvements to its distribution system. All of the improvements are intended to enhance electric service reliability for thousands of area customers.
With 16 local projects in the region, PPL Electric Utilities has allocated more than $14 million for infrastructure improvements that will benefit area customers this year.
Among the larger investments are two new distribution substations in Augustaville, Northumberland County, and Lansford, Carbon County, both of which will be completed this fall, in addition to upgrades to 18 substations to replace older equipment and enhanced technology for improved operations.
The substation upgrades will take place at two facilities in Columbia County (Rohrsburg and West Bloomsburg); two in Carbon County (East Penn and Penn Forest townships); two in Northumberland County (Watsontown and Mahanoy Township); three in Luzerne County (Kidder Township, Bear Creek and Exeter); three in Lycoming County (Montoursville, Muncy and Williamsport); three in Schuylkill County (Schuylkill and Brunswick townships and Fountain Springs); and facilities in Lock Haven, Clinton County; Beavertown, Snyder County; and Laurelton, Union County.
PPL Electric Utilities is investing more this year to address aging infrastructure, strengthen its electric delivery system and improve reliability for customers, said Christina Sepich, operations director for the company’s Central and Susquehanna regions.
“We’re working on comprehensive maintenance programs and numerous projects that will enhance the reliability of our distribution system for our customers. We understand they rely on us for dependable service,” Sepich said.
Some of the distribution projects include:
Northumberland and Montour counties
- A new $1.7 million distribution substation will benefit about 1,400 customers in Rockefeller and Lower Augusta townships and southwestern Upper Augusta Township. Currently, these customers are served by a circuit from the company’s Hamilton substation in Sunbury. The new Augustaville substation will allow PPL Electric Utilities to serve these customers from a more centralized and closer facility.
- Reinforcing two distribution circuits along Route 54 in Lewis and Limestone townships. Two existing distribution circuits will be upgraded to meet increased electrical demand for more than 3,000 customers. In addition, the company will install new switching equipment along the lines that allow power to be remotely rerouted during outages and restore a larger number of customers in a shorter period of time. The improvements will benefit customers in Anthony, Delaware, Derry, Lewis and Limestone townships as well as the borough of Turbotville. The $716,000 project is expected to be completed in June.
- Building a new line between the company’s substations in Coal Township and Mount Carmel Township. This $300,000 project, expected to be completed by November, will benefit about 4,200 customers.
- Installing new switching equipment in Danville to meet higher demand. The $15,000 project will benefit about 2,000 customers in the Danville area.
Columbia and Lycoming counties
- Building a new line between the substations in Bear Gap, Cleveland and Bloomsburg. The $2.4 million project, expected to be completed in November, will benefit about 3,700 customers.
- Continuing work to rebuild about 10 miles of lines to tie together circuits from the Millville and Benton substations and Hughesville in Lycoming County to improve reliability. The three-year, $5 million project will benefit about 4,600 customers and is expected to be completed this fall.
- Adding new lines that serve nearly 1,000 customers in Muncy Creek and Clinton townships to improve service reliability, which should be completed in early June.
- A series of improvements to transmission and distribution facilities serving the Muncy area, which should benefit about 3,300 customers. Most of the work should be completed this summer, with some upgrades continuing in 2014.
Carbon and Luzerne counties
- Upgrading the power lines between the company’s Weissport (Franklin Township) and Ashfield (East Penn Township) substations for improved local reliability. The $500,000 project will benefit approximately 3,200 customers.
- New lines and associated equipment upgrades to benefit customers in Foster and Wright townships in Luzerne County.
- Building a new line at the Auburn substation in West Brunswick Township. This $400,000 project, benefitting about 1,200 customers, supports the growth of electric demand in the area as well as improving capability to reroute power in the event of an outage.