PPL completes Northeast-Pocono Reliability Project, continues work on other projects

PPL (NYSE:PPL) on April 22 said that PPL Electric Utilities completed the $350m Northeast-Pocono Reliability Project on April 20.

Originally projected for completion in late 2017, the work – which included three new substations, nearly 60 miles of new 230-kV power lines and other improvements – was done more than a year early, thanks to effective management and coordination of the varied aspects of the project, the company said.

While construction is complete, land restoration is expected to continue to the end of 2016, the company said.

Pennsylvania state regulators in early 2014 approved the project, which was announced in late 2011, the company said.

The project is the second major transmission project that PPL has completed in the past year, as the Susquehanna–Roseland transmission line – which also involved Public Service Enterprise Group’s (NYSE:PEG) Public Service Electric and Gas – was completed last May, the company noted.

"Customers in the region – including in Lackawanna, Monroe, Wayne, Pike and Luzerne counties – will benefit from this project through fewer and shorter outages," Stephanie Raymond vice president, Transmission and Substations for the utility, said in the statement of the Northeast-Pocono project. "The project will also help make the power grid more secure."

PPL continues to work on other projects, including the 345-kV Project Compass. As noted on the company’s website, the first segment of Project Compass is a 95-mile, $500m to $600m line between Blakely, Pa., and Ramapo, N.Y.

PPL Electric Utilities last October filed an interconnection application with the New York ISO (NYISO), the company said, adding that additional approvals are needed from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the New York Public Service Commission, PJM Interconnection and other agencies.

“While the first segment can stand alone as a valuable grid improvement, PPL Electric Utilities continues to refine the overall plan for the rest of Project Compass,” the company said.

As currently envisioned, the full project would run about 475 miles from western Pennsylvania into southeastern New York, the company said, noting that Project Compass is estimated to cost $3bn to $4bn.

The exact route of the first segment of Project Compass has not yet been determined, and must be approved by regulators in both states, the company said, adding that PPL Electric Utilities will consider public input and work with the appropriate regulators and environmental permitting agencies to find the best route. The current schedule calls for the first segment to be in service by 2023, the company said.

A company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on April 22 that PPL expects to invest about $1bn over the next five years – 2016-2020 – in improvements to its system, including transmission and distribution work, with transmission being the larger share.

The spokesperson said that generally, “a majority of the transmission investments underway now and planned in the coming years are rebuilds and/or upgrades of existing lines.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.