The 150-mile-long, 500-kilovolt line links PPL Electric Utilities’s switchyard at its Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Salem Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.’s switching station in Roseland, Essex County, New Jersey.
It cost $1.4 billion and is designed to bolster electricity reliability for the power grid run by Pennsylvania-based PJM Interconnection that serves 61 million people in all or parts of 13 states plus the District of Columbia.
“It’s all about reliability,” PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth said. “It prevents overloads on other power lines and gives electricity another path to travel, especially during period periods when it’s extremely hot or extremely cold.
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.
As promised after storms disabled the regional power grid three times in 2011, PPL Electric Utilities on Thursday announced the start of a $35 million project to upgrade its distribution system in southern and western Berks County and parts of Lancaster and Chester counties.
During public hearings in Harrisburg and Reading this year called by state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, and state Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat, PPL officials promised an overall $3 billion upgrade to its electric grid, which covers parts of Berks and 29 other counties.
Electric customers in the project area are served by a network of 69-kilovolt transmission lines that are nearing their capacity, PPL officials said.
The investment represents nearly a 50 percent increase over what it spent last year on new transmission lines, poles and substations, the company announced Friday.
More than 400,000 PPL customers lost power in August after the remnants of Hurricane Irene swept through eastern Pennsylvania. And an October snowstorm cut power to 388,000 PPL customers, nearly half of whom were in the Lehigh Valley. Nearly 10,000 in the Lehigh Valley had no electricity for six days after the snow.