With the demand for electricity on the rise and to keep power transmission to customers as reliable as possible, PPL will be laying new 500,000 watt power lines and towers from Berwick to Roseland, NY.


With the demand for electricity on the rise and to keep power transmission to customers as reliable as possible, PPL will be laying new 500,000 watt power lines and towers from Berwick to Roseland, NY.

“Everyone is using more electricity these days, and new power lines are needed to keep up with that demand and to keep our power supply reliable,” said Gregory J. Smith, PE, manager PPL Transmission Expansion. “The PJM Interconnection, our regional power pool, has decided that a new power line is needed. PPL Electric Utilities has been ordered by PJM to construct the Pennsylvania portion of this power line,” explained Smith.

The project is meant to improve long-term reliability of the regional power grid which serves the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

“At the direction of the PJM Interconnection board of managers, PPL Electric Utilities will build a portion of a new 500,000-volt transmission line that has been identified as essential to long-term reliability of the interconnected electric system,” Smith said.

“Safe and reliable service is the greatest responsibility of those who own and operate the power grid,” said David E. Schleicher, vice president of Transmission Operations for PPL Electric Utilities in a press release announcing the project last year. “This project will provide reliability benefits for our customers, people across Pennsylvania and electricity users throughout the mid-Atlantic region.”

“The lessons of the major blackout that affected 50 million people in August 2003 are clear,” he added. “Problems that affect reliability in one part of the interconnected electric system can have consequences that are felt hundreds of miles away,” Schleicher concluded.

PJM Interconnection

PJM — an independent company that operates the power grid in a region that covers 13 mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia — conducts ongoing studies of the electricity grid and annually identifies required new transmission projects for long-term system reliability.

One of the projects approved by the PJM board on June 22, 2006 is to connect a PPL Electric Utilities substation near Berwick with a substation owned by Public Service Electric & Gas Co. Roseland, NJ.

PJM determined that the line is needed to prevent potential overloads that could occur in the next decade on several existing transmission lines in the interconnected PJM system. Transmission lines could become overloaded because of population growth, economic development and increasing electricity use unless reinforcements are built.

PPL Electric Utilities, which owns transmission facilities has been assigned responsibility to site and build PJM-approved projects in their service areas. This two-state project likely will cross the service areas of PPL Electric Utilities, PSE&G and FirstEnergy. The three utilities will coordinate efforts to site and build the project.

PPL’s portion of the project will be between 60 and 100 miles long and cost $300 million to $500 million to build. Because the project benefits the interconnected grid, PJM will allocate the cost among its 51 million customers across the PJM region.

Paul Wirth, PPL Public Relations manager, said the company will follow the PA’s siting process, adding PPL has always been open about its siting process. He said no site has been chosen but the company has begun a program to keep the public informed about the process and collect input from the public to help make the siting choice. He said the company will narrow many choice in routes for the line to three and collect even more public comment before choosing one route and making its application to the PUC to build.

Wirth and Smith said the company will consider all factors in making the decision over the next year and wants residents to be a part of the process. Wirth explained the process will take into consideration the affects on residential property, the environment, the economy and reliability.

“We know this can be controversial, but we know people want their electric appliances,” Wirth said, adding this line will affect the reliability of service to the entire region. While not directly connected to the black out a few years ago, that black out provides an example of how reliability can affect service across the region. The black out began in the Midwest and rolled across the region.

Project Benefits

This new line will have significant benefits for electric customers in the region, including those in Pennsylvania served by PPL Electric Utilities.

First, the line will help the region’s utilities meet demand for electricity, which has been increasing rapidly.

Second, the line will shore up the high-voltage electric delivery system in the PPL region, making it less likely that a problem with one power line would lead to a regional blackout like the one that affected millions of people in August 2003.

Third, the line will prevent overloads on existing power lines in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“The Susquehanna-Roseland power line project will benefit all of us by providing a more secure, more up-to-date and more efficient system of delivering electric service to the region,” said by Chuck Leonard, executive director Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corp. (from website pplreliablepower.com).

To Create Jobs

A new study by Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development Initiative Team, shows that construction of the Susquehanna-Roseland power line will create 165 to 330 temporary jobs, and will generate more than $100 million in benefits for the regional economy.

PPL Electric Utilities commissioned the study to identify economic benefits of the project. Based on the study, PPL estimates the following benefits while the line is being designed and built from 2009 to 2012:

• 100 to 200 temporary construction jobs;

• 65 to 130 additional temporary jobs providing goods and services for the project;

• These jobs will mean $100 million for the regional economy;

• Additional annual local, state and federal wage tax revenues of $2 million to $4 million.

The Penn State Workforce Education and Development Initiative Team conducted the study using IMPLAN, a macroeconomic model.

While no routes have been chosen, the company will include among the possibilities, the replacement of the 230,000 volt line which runs through Wayne and Pike counties from Canaan Township to Bushill, crossing Route 6 between Hawley and Lake Wallenpaupack. The line which begins in Berwick at the power plant and ends in the Roseland area. Smith said the company could replace the lattice towers which now make up the line with new one pole designs which would carry both lines — the 230,000 volt line which currently run there and the new 500,000.

Smith said its been quite a while since PPL has built such large transmission lines. The last was in the late 1970s when the nuclear plants went on line. He said PPL has hired and engineer to design the new poles for the transmission since all of the company’s old designs are out of date.

Smith said weight will be given to existing constructions, such as highways and older transmission lines, but all possible routes will be included in the initial search.

Wirth said the company will negotiate with property owners to buy a right of way. The owners will still own the land, but PPL will retain the rights to build and maintain the necessary lines.

Smith noted the company will still have to get all the local buildings permits needed for the project as well.

“At PPL, we understand that new power lines can cause concern. We have a long history of building power lines that strike a balance among maintaining reliable electric service, minimizing impact on property owners, protecting the environment and keeping costs down — because electric customers pay the costs of new lines,” said Smith, manager PPL Transmission Expansion.

Wirth added the company wanted the process to be open, with area residents involved from the start. He said a private company can choose it routes and then announce its plans, but PPL has always worked with the residents to identify the best routes with public input, narrowing down the list until a choice is made.

Contacts

Residents can obtain more information and reviews updates on the project  by visiting PPL website - www.pplreliablepower.com or at www.pplweb.com/. Or call PPL Media contact Paul Wirth at 610-774-5532, PPL Media line (nights and weekends) 610-774-5997 or Gregory J. Smith, PE, PPL Transmission Expansion Manager at 610-774-4531.