PPL Electric Utilities to improve electric service in Lancaster region

A multiyear project to reinforce the regional electric grid and improve service reliability for homes and businesses in the Lancaster region was announced Thursday (4/5) by PPL Electric Utilities.

The $35 million initiative is planned for parts of eastern Lancaster County and nearby in western Berks County and northwestern Chester County. It is part of more than $3 billion in infrastructure improvements planned by PPL Electric Utilities to benefit customers throughout its 29-county service territory through 2015.

Electric customers in the project area are served by a network of 69-kilovolt transmission lines that are nearing their capacity.

The electrical power demand on those lines from both residential and industrial customers makes it harder for PPL Electric Utilities to restore power after an outage, particularly during peak summer periods. This means customers can be without power for extended periods when they need it most.

The project’s three phases include:

– A new, 4- to 5-mile 138/69-kilovolt transmission line between PPL Electric Utilities’ Twin Valley substation in Caernarvon Township, Berks County, to a substation in Honey Brook Township, Chester County. The line is set to be operational in May 2014.

– A new North Lancaster 230/69-kilovolt substation on a 40-acre parcel owned by PPL Electric Utilities about a mile north of Bowmansville, Lancaster County, along Route 625. It is scheduled to go online in May 2016.

– A new, 7- to 9-mile 138/69-kilovolt transmission line to run from the new North Lancaster substation and connect to an existing transmission line in the Brecknock area. It will help supply the Honey Brook, Morgantown and Twin Valley areas and is set to be operational in May 2016.

The transmission line siting and construction are subject to state Public Utility Commission review and approval.

“The various phases of the project we’re announcing today are part of a comprehensive effort to bolster reliability and meet current and future power demands of our customers in the Lancaster region,” said Dave Bonenberger, general manager of Transmission and Substations for PPL Electric Utilities. “These investments will pay dividends by bolstering our ability to continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of power.”

The project will make electric service more reliable by reducing the number of power outages experienced by customers and by reducing outage duration caused by falling trees or severe weather.

PPL Electric Utilities has scheduled open houses for April 17 and 19 to receive public input on the possible paths developed for each of the two new planned power lines. The alternatives were developed following a comprehensive study of the area.

“Public input is invaluable in these projects as we finalize how best to balance all factors in siting these new facilities. We always strive to reduce, to the extent we can, impacts on people and the environment,” Bonenberger said.