Storm Topples Trees Throughout Berks, Causing Power Outages

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The heaviest precipitation that will hit Berks County today is over, but the storm has toppled numerous trees in the area, blocking roadways and causing power outages.

Nearly 9,000 customers are without power in the Met-Ed and PPL service areas in Berks.

As of 10 a.m., Met-Ed reported there were 5,500 outages in Reading and eastern and northern Berks, while PPL reported 3,200 customers were without power in Wyomissing, western Berks and the Morgantown area in southern Berks.

PPL reported 60,679 of its customers in a 16-county area of the state were affected by outages, while Met-Ed’s parent company, FirstEnergy, said there were 78,000 Pennsylvania customers affected.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/news/article/storm-topples-trees-throughout-berks-causing-power-outages#.UvKMBWOPKM8

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Leak aA PPL’s Susquehanna Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Reactor

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PPL Corp.‘s Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County declared an “unusual event” after water was discovered leaking inside a room in the plant’s Unit 2 reactor building.

An unusual event is the first of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants.

“We will conduct a full investigation of this incident and make any necessary changes to be sure it does not recur,” Timothy S. Rausch, senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer for PPL Susquehanna, said in a press release.

The event had no effect on public safety and required no public action, according to PPL Corp., the Allentown company that partly owns and operates the plant.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-ppl-nuclear-plant-leak-0916-20130916,0,6535111.story#ixzz2f4Avfidx
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PPL To Raise Rates 6.7%

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consumers who’ve stayed with PPL Electric Utilities these past three-plus years might be getting second thoughts.

PPL is raising its residential rate by 6.7 percent effective Sept. 1, the company announced Friday.

The upturn marks the second consecutive quarterly increase for the utility and PPL’s highest price in two years.

As the rate climbs to 8.777 cents per kilowatt-hour from 8.227 cents, it will add about $5 to the monthly bill of the consumer using 1,000 kwh.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/886672_PPL-to-raise-rates-6-7-.html#ixzz2cu0Ptv1S

Air Products To Set Up Shop In Downtown Allentown

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Downtown Allentown has attracted a new tenant — one of the region’s nameplate companies.

Air Products of Trexlertown said Thursday it had signed a lease for space at Two City Center, the 11-story office tower being built on the site of the former First National Bank building at Seventh and Hamilton streets, across from the city’s new hockey arena.

The company — one of two Fortune 500 companies in the Lehigh Valley and the region’s third-largest employer with more than 3,600 local workers — expects to move its liquefied natural gas commercial and engineering teams to the building next summer.

“We feel locating these teams at this new development is a meaningful contribution and visible commitment to the revitalization of the city,” Air Products Senior Vice President John Stanley said in a news release.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-air-products-leases-city-center-space-20130808,0,7399771.story#ixzz2bXcxcx9L
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Hit Hard By Copper Wire Thieves, PPL Fights Back

A red/cyan anaglyph of a reel of tinned copper...

A red/cyan anaglyph of a reel of tinned copper 24swg wire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With its substations increasingly targeted by copper thieves, PPL is upping security and putting scrap dealers who may receive the stolen wiring on alert.

The utility has suffered about two dozen copper wire thefts throughout its Pennsylvania service area since the start of the year.  The utility’s Lancaster and northeast Pennsylvania service areas have been hit especially hard.

Last month, according to media reports, thieves broke into a Wilkes-Barre area substation just after midnight and stole more than 250 feet of copper wire used to ground the substation.  Scrap yards pay about $3 a pound for copper wire, according to Internet scrap pricing websites.

It’s a problem being faced by utilities across the country.  The nationwide spike in copper thefts dates to about 2008 when prices hit $4 a pound, topping out at $4.50 in 2011, according to the American Public Power Association‘s magazine, Public Power.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pa-ppl-copper-thefts-20130606,0,2376611.story

PPL To Add Distribution Improvement Charge To Bills

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PPL Utilities customers will soon see a new addition to their bills: a special charge aimed at financing speedier improvements to the Allentown-based utility’s electricity distribution system.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved the new fee, which can be added to bills starting in July. Proceeds can be used to “recover reasonable and prudent costs incurred to repair, improve or replace certain eligible distribution property that is part of a utility’s distribution system.”

The commission approved PPL’s five-year accelerated infrastructure replacement plan in January.  The plan includes more than $135 million in system improvements and reliability upgrades this year, and a total of $700 million between now and 2017.

Customers’ bills are expected to increase by about 0.44 percent, or 20 cents on the bill of a typical residential customer with 1,000 kilowatt-hours of monthly usage.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-ppl-distribution-charge-20130523,0,881996.story

Allentown Hockey Arena Zone Businesses Putting Up Money For Downtown Improvements, Facades

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conscious that the borders of Allentown’s new arena district could become a visible dividing line between the haves and have nots, two downtown businesses are pumping $300,000 into the neighborhood just outside the arena zone.

City Center Investment Corp. will donate $200,000 and PPL will kick in $100,000 to help as many as 30 businesses along Hamilton Street remake their storefronts.

The deal comes as city and community leaders have spent months considering how to help the massive tax incentives undergirding the $272 million arena, hotel and office complex spill into the struggling communities just outside the Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

Under the program, businesses along Hamilton Street, between 10th and 12th streets — the first two blocks outside the NIZ — can get grants of roughly $15,000 to reface their shops.  By the time city officials finished their 20-minute news conference Monday to announce the program, six eligible businesses had already expressed interest in the free money.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-hockey-arena-facades-20130429-55,0,6163711.story

PPL Plans To Cut Rates For Electricity

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Public Utility Commission really wants electric users to switch from their utility to one of the dozens of alternative suppliers.

But PPL Electric Utilities inadvertently keeps giving electric users more motivation to stick with them.

PPL will cut its residential rate by 4.1 percent Friday, reflecting the cheaper prices it’s paying to obtain power on the wholesale market.

This latest change, announced Tuesday, is the third consecutive quarterly rate reduction for PPL.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/819772_PPL-plans-to-cut-rates-for-electricity.html#ixzz2MEX5j5I5

PPL Goes Before U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments from PPL Corp. and federal tax authorities in a case whose outcome could determine the fate of billions of dollars in corporate profits.

The dispute, two decades in the making, involves a British tax imposed on PPL of Allentown after it bought one of many businesses privatized by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At issue, specifically, are U.S. tax breaks for companies that pay foreign taxes. U.S. multinationals and lawmakers are watching closely — not only because the Obama administration has taken a very public stance against such tax breaks, but also because the nine Supreme Court justices rarely hear tax cases.

“The IRS recognizes the stakes in this case are broader than this particular [British] tax,” said Dirk Suringa, a former Treasury official, now a partner at law firm Covington & Burling.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/mc-sumpreme-court-hears-ppl-case-20130220,0,3330844.story

New Fee Could Be Added To PPL Bills

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This spring, PPL electricity customers’ bills will get more complicated – and more expensive.

A new rate will be levied on PPL electric bills called the distribution system improvement charge, or DSIC.  The impact on the average bill may be modest at first, just a few cents, but it will rise as PPL seeks to raise $705 million from ratepayers to fund ambitious replacement and improvement of the electrical distribution system.

If approved, the new rate will be levied as early as May 1, could be subject to change before then and then every three months thereafter.

The rate is starting out small, just a fraction of a percent of PPL’s components of the bill: the customer charge and distribution rate.  The impact on the average bill will be minimal at first – just 7 cents.  But PPL has the ability to change that rate every quarter, up to 5 percent.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/new-fee-could-be-added-to-ppl-bills-1.1430666

PPL To Seek Fee To Help Pay For Upgrades

PPL Electric Utilities is planning $705 million in improvements to its infrastructure over the next five years and is turning to its customers to help pay the bill.

PPL spokesman Bryan Hay said the company plans to file a petition this week with the state Public Utility Commission asking for a new fee that would help fund improvements to the company’s distribution system.

Hay did not provide specifics about the new charge, but said details would be released this week.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=443503

PPL Eyes New Round Of Energy Initiatives

Got an old fridge to get rid of? PPL Electric Utilities still will take it, pay you and recycle it.

Want new discount-price CFL bulbs?  PPL still will sell them to you.

Hope to get paid for trimming your air-conditioning use next summer?  Sorry, those days are gone.

PPL on Friday asked for state approval of its second generation of “E-power” energy-efficiency initiatives.

The 18 measures, subject to the state Public Utility Commission‘s action, are a mix of first-generation carryovers and newcomers.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/779340_PPL-eyes-new-round-of-energy-initiatives.html#ixzz2CV52XGJS

Worst Of Hurricane Sandy Expected In Western Pennsylvania Tonight

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania utility companies are reporting that more than 30,000 people are already without power around the state, in the first wave of what are expected to be an increasing number of outages because of Hurricane Sandy.

At 3:15 p.m. Monday PECO was reporting over 15,000 customers without power, mostly in the Philadelphia area.  First Energy reports more than 8,000 and PPL about 8,000, including some in the Harrisburg area.

The utilities have lined up extra repair crews, but they still say some people could be without power for days.

Larger numbers of people are already without power in New Jersey.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/hurricane-sandy-impacts-beginning-to-be-felt-into-western-pennsylvania-659697/#ixzz2AjIf57gf

PPL To Hire Thousands, Spend Billions

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown energy company PPL Corp. will hire thousands of workers to replace retirees and spend billions of dollars to upgrade aging power grids and reduce emissions from coal-fired plants over the next several years, Chief Executive Officer William Spence said Thursday.

Spence, who became CEO last year and company chairman earlier this year, spoke to members of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce at a lunch at Hotel Bethlehem.  He joined PPL in 2006 as chief operating officer after working for Pepco Holdings for 19 years.

The company expects to hire 300 to 500 workers each year for the foreseeable future to replace retiring engineers, linemen and nuclear power plant operators, Spence said.  About 100 of those positions each year will be in the Lehigh Valley, he said.

“Recruiting and staffing is huge,” Spence said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-ppl-bill-spence-20120920,0,4297746.story

PPL’s Brunner Island Coal-Fired Power Plant Here To Stay

All around the country, utilities are shuttering coal-fired power plants or converting them to natural gas, which has become a cheap, plentiful fuel.

But the hulking 51-year-old Brunner Island power plant perched along the Susquehanna River at Lancaster County‘s western boundary will continue to be a major power-producer for years to come, according to its owner, PPL.

“Brunner Island remains an important part of PPL’s future.  The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental improvements at the plant to keep it viable for the long term,” said George Lewis, PPL’s director of corporate communications.

Brunner Island produces enough power to drive 1 million homes.  But keeping it chugging along will buck a national trend and require even more investments in pollution equipment.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/715580_PPL-s-Brunner-Island-coal-fired-power-plant-here-to-stay.html#ixzz23okhy4D9

State Criticizes Met-Ed, PPL On Outages

 

English: Hurricane Irene over North Carolina, ...

English: Hurricane Irene over North Carolina, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Met-Ed and PPL electric utilities have to improve their tree-trimming and line maintenance so that preventable outages like those that occurred during the major storms of 2011 can be reduced or eliminated.

The utilities also must be more responsive to customers during major storms, according to three reports critical of the utilities, issued this week by the state Public Utility Commission.

The reports were ordered in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene last August, flooding rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in early September, and the freak late October snowstorm.

“Tree trimming should be a primary concern for both the (electric utilities) and commission for its effect on reliability as well as its role in long-duration outages,” the report said.

Raed more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=407845

Nearly 7,000 Still Without Power In NEPA

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly 7,000 PPL Electric Utilities in Northeast Pennsylvania are still without power this morning due to Thursday’s thunderstorms.

A total of 6,737 PPL customers in Lackawanna, Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Susquehanna and Luzerne counties were still without power as of 8:30 a.m., according to the utility’s outage website.

Wayne County had greatest number of customers still without power this morning with 2,701 customers out, though an additional 1,040 had already been restored.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/nearly-7-000-still-without-power-in-nepa-1.1349415

Related story: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/storms-cause-damage-power-outages-throughout-nepa-1.1349069

Potter County Woman Among 2 Dead After Intense Storms

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been killed by a tree felled by powerful storms that left tens of thousands of customers without power, mostly in western and central Pennsylvania.

The Potter County coroner says 66-year-old Linda Button was killed Thursday evening in Genesee Township. That’s about 150 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, near the New York border.  State police in Coudersport expect to release more details later Friday.

First Energy Corp. reported about 70,000 customers without power on Friday morning, with the worst problems in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, and Cambria County, east of the city.  Thousands more outages were reported by PPL Corp. in central Pennsylvania.

In New York City, the storm is blamed for killing a 61-year-old man who was struck by collapsing scaffolding outside a Brooklyn church.  Police say lighting brought bricks down onto the scaffolding.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/07/storms_in_pennsylvania.html#incart_river_default

Bicyclist Hit By Tree On Thun Trail During Last Night’s Violent Storm

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A man riding his bicycle on the Thun Trail next to the Schuylkill River was hit on the head and knocked down by a falling tree Thursday night as a powerful thunderstorm roared through Berks County, felling trees, power lines and even street signs.

The rider, a middle-aged man who was not identified by emergency personal, managed to call 9-1-1 for help from under the large tree, which shattered his helmet and mangled his mountain bike.

The accident happened at 7:20 p.m. as the storm knocked down trees and wires across Berks. Transformers blew up, alarms went off in homes and commercial buildings and the lights flickered in the city.

County emergency dispatchers were able to direct city firefighters to a general area along the trail after using cell towers to triangulate the location of the injured man’s cellphone.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=403839

Power Outage Hits Thousands Of Homes, Park City Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A malfunction at a PPL substation in East Petersburg knocked out power to thousands and created traffic backups on area roads Thursday afternoon.

PPL spokesman Kurt Blumenau said a tripped transformer sparked the 4:30 p.m. outage that affected about 5,200 homes and businesses in Manheim and East Hempfield townships as well as a portion of the western part of Lancaster city.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/669443_Power-outage-hits-thousands-of-homes–Park-City-Center.html#ixzz1xsA37GOl