In communities from the Slate Belt to southern Lehigh County, Penn, PPL Electric Utilities is at work upgrading power lines, modernizing facilities, building new substations and making other improvements on its distribution system. All of the improvements are intended to enhance electric service reliability for thousands of area customers in the Lehigh Valley and Bucks and Montgomery counties.
With nearly 30 local projects in the region, PPL Electric Utilities will invest about $27 million for infrastructure improvements that will benefit area customers this year. The projects will meet increased demand, improve reliability, limit the impact of outages, address aging infrastructure and enhance the utility’s operations.
It’s all part of the company’s largest-scale investment in system improvements since the 1960s and 1970s. The capital program includes large-scale transmission projects and smaller, more local reliability improvements throughout the service territory.
“Our work this year is squarely aimed at enhancing the reliability of our distribution system for our customers,” said Sarah Fliszar, director of operations for PPL Electric Utilities’ Lehigh region.
“Along back roads and main highways from Plainfield Township to the Indian Valley, you’ll likely see our trucks, crews and contractors working to improve the system that delivers power directly to homes and businesses,” she said. “Projects include rebuilding lines to meet higher demand, adding new equipment that allows us to remotely reroute power during damaging storms and upgrading substations with new technology that will help minimize the duration of outages.”
Much of the distribution work involves installing new power lines to improve the performance of local circuits. The new lines are like opening roads that provide more alternate routes for electricity, allowing more opportunities to deliver power and restore service faster when outages occur. The new lines will be equipped with fuses, relays and automated switches.
PPL Electric Utilities will upgrade equipment at several area substations, which serve as the local hubs for power delivery. New remote-controlled devices will be installed at substations serving south Allentown, Treichlers in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, and Mount Bethel in Northampton County, at an investment of more than $770,000.
Additionally, the company is replacing circuit breakers and power transformers at substations that serve Allentown, Catasauqua, South Whitehall Township and south Slatington. With nearly $11 million in investments, new substations will boost local power capacity and increase reliability for Upper Macungie Township, Salisbury Township and Bangor.
Additionally, about 40 mi of older power lines are being rebuilt in Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties along the utility’s Martins Creek-Siegfried, Hosensack-Wescosville, Quarry-Hosensack and Seidersville-Quakertown lines.
Some other distribution projects are:
- Rebuilding a circuit and installing new lines along Lanark Road in Center Valley to improve reliability and limit outages for more than 9,000 customers in Upper Saucon Township, Coopersburg, Milford Township and Lower Milford Township.
- Installing smart grid equipment, new fuses and rebuilding lines to strengthen the delivery system for more than 14,000 customers in the Emmaus area.
- Building a new line to improve service reliability for 5,400 customers in Lower and Upper Macungie townships.
- Building a new line from the company’s Pointe North substation to relieve load on area lines and improve reliability for more than 2,150 customers in Bethlehem, Lower Nazareth, Allen and Hanover townships (Northampton County).
- Building a new line and rerouting other lines to improve access for maintenance and repairs for better reliability for 2,154 customers in Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township.
- Building a new line from the company’s Northampton substation to relieve load on area lines and improve reliability for 5,300 customers in Northampton and Whitehall Township.
- Building a new line from the company’s Factoryville substation to relieve load on area lines and improve reliability for 980 customers in Plainfield and Washington townships.
- Building a new Trumbauersville substation with three lines to relieve load on area distribution lines and improve reliability for 12,000 customers in Milford and Richland townships and Trumbauersville.
- Building a new line from the company’s Blooming Glen substation to relieve load on area distribution lines and improve reliability for 2,200 customers in Hilltown and Rockhill townships, Silverdale and Blooming Glen.