Western County to Benefit from Future Electric Upgrades

PHILADELPHIA PA – A majority of western Montgomery County residents are expected to benefit from $1.36 billion worth of PECO electric infrastructure investments to be installed from 2021 through 2025. Approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, they should prevent customer outages, update the electric grid, and reduce extreme weather impacts, the utility said Monday (Nov. 23, 2020).

PECO’s coverage area includes portions of Lower and Upper Pottsgrove townships; all of Limerick, Perkiomen, Skippack, Upper Providence, Lower and Upper Frederick, and Lower and Upper Salford townships; and all of Pottstown, Royersford, Trappe, Collegeville, and Green Lane boroughs.

The budgeted money is part of what PECO said is a total $6 billion “Reliability and Resiliency Plan” across its electric and natural gas systems. It intends to inspect equipment, complete targeted system enhancements and corrective maintenance, invest in new equipment, and perform vegetation management. About a third of the overall investment is dedicated to further improve reliability for customers, it added.

PECO reported its plan for electricity issues focuses on:

  • Effects of more frequent and severe storms, like those that hit earlier this summer. PECO will invest about $441 million to replace poles, wires, and other equipment to better withstand wind and ice; retire older substations, and upgrade portions of the electric system they serve;
  • About $605 million to replace roughly 1,000 miles of distribution cable, typically installed underground;
  • About $21 million will be allocated to replace aging substation equipment, including switchgear and associated equipment like transformers within substations to prevent issues before they occur; and
  • Nearly $300 million dedicated to retire some small or obsolete substations.

System improvements will also pave the way for additional clean energy resources, like solar, and support vehicle electrification throughout the service territory. Improving substations with new equipment and increasing the voltage of nearby circuits also increases the ability to support more customer-owned solar generation facilities, the utility noted.