PPL Electric Utilities to strengthen electric delivery system in Northampton County

Pennsylvania Power Light

Pennsylvania Power Light

Upgrade of aging power line needed to improve reliability
PPL Electric Utilities plans to rebuild an existing 6.7-mile transmission line to help improve reliability for residents in Northampton County.Built in 1918, the Siegfried-Quarry 69-kilovolt transmission line supplies power to 7,600 residents and businesses in Hanover, Bethlehem, Lower Nazareth, Allen and East Allen townships.

Electricity demand has increased significantly over the years, and is expected to continue to grow over the long term despite the recent economic downturn. This 91-year-old power line is expected to be overloaded during periods of high electricity use by mid-2011. If PPL Electric Utilities doesn’t rebuild the line to increase its capacity to carry power, overloads could increase the risk of power outages for the 7,600 customers served by this line.

“Our primary goal is to keep our electric system reliable for our customers, and this project is part of ongoing work to upgrade our power delivery system,” said David E. Schleicher, vice president of Transmission for PPL Electric Utilities. “Rebuilding this line will improve reliability for customers in the area and help us meet the growing demand for electricity today and in the years to come.”

The new line’s voltage will remain 69 kilovolts, but the project will more than double its capacity, which will help ease congestion on the line in times of peak demand such as hot, summer days.

In addition, PPL Electric Utilities plans to replace the existing old-style lattice structures with new steel poles similar in height to the existing structures. A main goal of the work will be to minimize any inconvenience or impact on nearby property owners.

“We will be keeping area residents and officials informed about this project each step of the way,” Schleicher said. “We encourage area residents to provide input about the project at a public open house planned later this month.”

The PPL Electric Utilities project team will be on hand to provide information on the project and to answer questions at the open house on April 29 at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center, 300 Gateway Drive, Bethlehem. There is no set agenda or formal presentation for this open house, and residents are encouraged to visit anytime between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

PPL Electric Utilities expects construction of the project to begin in April 2010. The line is expected to begin operation in May 2011.

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