Duquesne Light Company (DLC) has successfully completed construction of a 138-kilovolt transmission line as part of its Universal-Plum-Cheswick reliability project.
The new line, which spans approximately five miles across Penn Hills, Monroeville and Plum between DLC’s Universal and Plum substations, is necessary to meet increased electric demand and maintain safe and reliable service in eastern Allegheny County. Construction began in August 2020 and was completed in February 2022, two months ahead of schedule. During the project, DLC installed nearly 4 miles of 40 self-supporting steel monopoles on concrete foundations, and 1.5 miles of underground transmission conductor.
“After many years of planning and design, it is very rewarding to see this line come to fruition,” said Michelle Antantis, senior consulting engineer at DLC. “This work is critical to providing improved reliability to customers served by our Universal and Plum substations. The new interconnection between them makes the eastern portion of our grid more resilient and allows us to provide more reliable service.”
The line also extends through Boyce Park, which covers more than 1,000 acres mostly in Plum Borough.
Investing in Critical Infrastructure
Between 2011 and 2021, DLC invested more than $3.1 billion into new and upgraded infrastructure, including the Universal-Plum-Cheswick project. The company’s Universal and Plum substations were upgraded to accept the new transmission source at both ends of the line.
Work at Universal Substation included the design and installation of a new breaker position; relay and control upgrades; and enhanced communication to the station. Plum Substation was upgraded to accept a second transmission source through the design and installation of new bus work and breaker positions; new foundations, structures and relay equipment; a new cable trench; a substation battery; and various security enhancements.
To add more reliability to the existing transmission system, extra equipment was installed at DLC’s Cheswick Substation. The company designed and installed a new breaker position, with relay and control upgrades to tie in the new equipment. The second breaker will provide operational flexibility for Cheswick Substation, ensuring greater efficiency.
“Maintaining safe and reliable infrastructure is key to the growth of our communities, and is one of DLC’s core commitments,” said Jason Hartle, senior project manager at DLC. “This project is another example of the investment we’re making not only in our equipment, but also our customers and region. I’m very proud of the hard work our team did and look forward to the positive results it will yield. We want to thank our customers and the community for their patience as we built this crucial infrastructure.”