PPL Electric Utilities allocates more than $14m for improvements in Pennsylvania

PPL Electric Utilities has allocated more than $14m for infrastructure improvements and has 16 local projects in north central Pennsylvania in the works, parent company PPL (NYSE:PPL) said on May 31.

Among the larger investments are two new distribution substations in Augustaville, Northumberland County, and Lansford, Carbon County, which will be completed in the fall, in addition to upgrades to 18 substations to replace older equipment and enhanced technology for improved operations, the company said.

Much of the distribution work involves installing new power lines to improve the performance of local circuits, PPL said, adding that the new lines will be equipped with fuses, relays and automated switches.

Christina Sepich, operations director for the company’s Central and Susquehanna regions, said in the statement that PPL Electric Utilities is investing more this year to address aging infrastructure, strengthen its electric delivery system and improve reliability.

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 said.

In Northumberland and Montour counties, work entails a new $1.7m distribution substation benefiting about 1,400 customers in Rockefeller and Lower Augusta townships and southwestern Upper Augusta Township.

The company is also reinforcing two distribution circuits along Route 54 in Lewis and Limestone townships and installing new switching equipment along lines that allow power to be remotely rerouted during outages and restore a larger number of customers in a shorter period of time. Customers in Anthony, Delaware, Derry, Lewis and Limestone townships as well as the borough of Turbotville will benefit from the $716,000 project, which is expected to be complete this month.

Furthermore, the company is building a new line between its substations in Coal Township and Mount Carmel Township, at a cost of $300,000, and that project is expected to be completed by November.

To meet higher demand, the company is also installing new switching equipment in Danville at a cost of $15,000, the company added.

In Columbia and Lycoming counties, PPL Electric Utilities is building a new $2.4m line between the substations in Bear Gap, Cleveland and Bloomsburg that is expected to be completed in November.

Also, the company is 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 company added that the three-year, $5m project will benefit about 4,600 customers and is expected to be completed in the fall.

Also, the company is adding new lines in Muncy Creek and Clinton townships to improve reliability and that is expected to be completed early this month.

In Carbon and Luzerne counties, the company said it is upgrading the power lines between its Weissport in Franklin Township and Ashfield in East Penn Township substations that will cost $500,000.

Among other things, the company said that in Schuylkill County, it is building a new $400,000 line at the Auburn substation in West Brunswick township that will benefit about 1,200 customers.

State regulators approve distribution system improvement charge

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) said on May 23 that it voted 5-0 to approve PPL Electric Utilities’ petition to implement a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC).

The DSIC may not become effective before July 1, the PUC said, adding that the company must notify customers of quarterly changes in the DSIC through bill messages, in addition to a company newsletter.

State law, Act 11 of 2012, requires and provides for utilities to file plans as part of any action to establish a DSIC to recover reasonable and prudent costs incurred to repair, improve or replace certain eligible distribution property that is part of a utility’s distribution system. PPL plans to accelerate infrastructure replacement over a period of five years, the PUC added.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed the measure, which allows jurisdictional water and wastewater utilities, natural gas distribution companies, city natural gas distribution operations and electric distribution companies to petition the PUC for approval to implement a DSIC.

Separately on May 23, PPL said that effective July 1, the new DSIC, which will appear on customer bills, will be about 20 cents per month on the bill of a residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh of electricity. The charges will vary for customers based on their monthly usage and will be equal to 0.44% of each customer’s monthly distribution charges.

The PUC approved PPL Electric Utilities’ long-term infrastructure improvement plan in January. The plan outlined more than $135m in new facilities and equipment this year and more than $700m over five years, the company added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.