Company says improvements produced record-breaking dip in outages
PHILADELPHIA – From January through March, PECO completed more than 200 projects to enhance electric service reliability for customers throughout the region, part of an annual investment of about $500 million to improve the electric system infrastructure, a PECO news release said.
Specifically, 168 projects were completed on 44 circuits to improve service to customers. These corrective and preventive maintenance projects were identified through PECO’s targeted circuit performance analysis program, the release said.
In addition, 19 “reclosers” have been installed on aerial lines across the service territory since January, two in Kennett Township. A recloser is similar to a breaker in a home’s electrical circuit box, which controls power flow inside the home. When trouble occurs, like a fallen tree limb on a line, the recloser stops the flow of electricity. However, unlike a household circuit breaker, which has to be manually reset, a recloser automatically resets and restores the power flow if the problem has been cleared. In addition, reclosers can reroute power from the point of trouble to keep the lights on for customers not directly impacted by the issue.
During the last decade, PECO has reduced the number and length of power outages through the use of more than 1,550 reclosers across the region, 409 of which are in Chester County. So far this year, reclosers installed across the PECO service territory have prevented more than 78,000 sustained power interruptions, the release said.
To help prevent power outages caused by vegetation, PECO continues to install tree-resistant aerial Hendrix wire. This specific electric wire is stronger than most aerial wire and can better withstand falling trees. Currently, more than 15 miles of Hendrix wire has been installed across the service territory. During the first few months of 2014, PECO began installing approximately 3,700 feet of this wire in wooded areas of Montgomery County. Through the rest of the year, an additional 7,000 feet of Hendrix wire will be installed in some suburban areas – Chester County is not on that list. However, a PECO spokesman said the system is continually examined to determine future areas for installation.
PECO is also continuing its rigorous tree-trimming program to limit the amount of power outages caused by trees and other vegetation. The company invests about $35 million each year on tree pruning and other vegetation removal, the release said.
“We are always looking for opportunities to improve our performance for our customers,” said Mike Innocenzo, PECO senior vice president and chief operating officer. “By performing preventive and corrective maintenance, we are able to keep the lights on longer for our customers and restore service faster when power outages do occur.”
The release said that 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.