From August to October, PECO completed more than 175 projects to enhance electric reliability for customers across Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
This work is in addition to more than 370 projects completed during the first half of 2014. Each year, PECO invests about $500 million to improve the electric system infrastructure, including performing preventive maintenance and upgrading equipment.
Specifically, 85 projects were completed on 37 circuits to further improve service to customers. These corrective and preventive maintenance projects were identified through PECO’s ongoing system monitoring program.
Since July 29 additional reclosers have been installed on aerial lines across the region, increasing the total number of devices on PECO’s system to more than 1,600. When a problem occurs, like a fallen tree limb, lightning strike or vehicle accident, the recloser stops the flow of electricity on the power line, and automatically restores electricity if possible. Reclosers have prevented more than 875,000 sustained power interruptions for PECO customers this year alone.
PECO also continued to upgrade and install new equipment throughout the region. Since July, PECO upgraded more than two miles of underground cable, installed eight new transformers and added new sectionalizing devices that help to isolate issues that cause outages so service can be restored more quickly.
To help prevent power outages caused by vegetation, PECO continues to install reinforced tree-resistant aerial wire. This specific electric wire is stronger than most aerial wire and can better withstand falling trees and tree limbs. During the third quarter, PECO completed the installation of 4,600 feet of this wire in Montgomery County.
Earlier this year, PECO installed about 6,000 feet of tree-resistant wire throughout Montgomery County. Currently, more than 17 miles of this wire has been installed across the service territory. Additional wire is planned for installation in targeted suburban areas in 2015.
PECO also continues its rigorous tree trimming program to limit the number of power outages caused by trees and other vegetation. The company invests about $35 million each year on tree pruning and other vegetation removal around approximately 2,400 miles (of a total 13,500 miles) of aerial power lines along the PECO electric distribution and transmission systems.
Additionally, PECO completed wildlife mitigation around several of its facilities to prevent native animals from damaging PECO equipment and causing power outages.
PECO’s ongoing system enhancement projects contributed to the company’s record-breaking electric and natural gas reliability performance in 2013, with customers experiencing the fewest number of outages in the company’s history, surpassing previous records set in 2012.