PECO completes power grid storm hardening upgrades

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PECO completed nearly 600 projects to enhance natural gas and electric service for customers during the first quarter of 2016. The work is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to provide customers with safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy and energy services. The company invests more than $500 million each year to enhance its system infrastructure through preventive maintenance and equipment upgrades.

Through PECO’s System 2020 plan, the company is spending an additional $274 million during the next five years to install advanced equipment and reinforce the local electric system, making it more weather resistant and less vulnerable to storm damage.

“We are constantly monitoring our natural gas and electric systems to identify areas where we can enhance service reliability for our customers,” said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO. “This ongoing, proactive work is critical to maintaining the level of service our customers expect.”

PECO completed nearly 500 projects to ensure safe and reliable natural gas service for customers. This includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, and preventive maintenance on the company’s natural gas transmission and distribution system. From January through March, PECO inspected 308 miles of natural gas main, completed more than 1,700 valve inspections and replaced nearly two miles of natural gas main with plastic pipe, which enhances safety, is more durable and improves service.

PECO also completed nearly 120 electric system projects in the first quarter of 2016. Specifically, more than 60 corrective and preventive maintenance projects were completed as part of PECO’s ongoing system monitoring program. PECO also continued to upgrade and install advanced equipment throughout the region, specifically adding 12 new aerial devices called reclosers to its distribution system.

When a problem occurs, like a fallen tree limb, lightning strike or vehicle accident, the recloser stops the flow of electricity on the line and automatically restores electricity if possible. There are more than 1,700 reclosers on PECO’s system, which prevented more than 79,000 sustained power interruptions for PECO customers during the first quarter of this year.

To help prevent power outages caused by vegetation, PECO also installs reinforced tree-resistant aerial electric lines. These lines are stronger than traditional lines and can better withstand falling trees and tree limbs. PECO now has more than 19 miles installed across the service territory. Rigorous tree trimming also continues to limit the number of power outages caused by trees and other vegetation. As part of this work, PECO will invest about $41 million in vegetation management work around 3,300 miles of aerial electric lines in 2016.

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