Tag Archives: Damage Prevention

Hurricane Sandy cuts power for millions. Why aren’t utility lines underground?

An interesting article relating the benefits of underground power in the face a bad weather.


Hurricane Sandy cuts power for millions. Why aren’t utility lines underground? – CSMonitor.com.

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FPL to invest about $15bn through 2014 on smart grid, other measures | TransmissionHub

FPL to invest about $15bn through 2014 on smart grid, other measures | TransmissionHub.

Florida Power & Light (FPL) expects to invest about $15bn over the five-year period that began in 2010 and runs through 2014, or about $3bn a year, on smart grid technology and other measures, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub May 21.

“Our investments are designed to strengthen and improve Florida’s electric generation and delivery system to maintain our strong reliability while helping keep customer bills low over the long term through the use of fuel-efficient generation technologies,” the spokesperson said.

Examples of such investments include storm hardening, that is, a multi-year investment that is helping FPL prepare for major storms, making the grid stronger and more resilient, the spokesperson said.

Other examples include the expansion and enhancement of FPL’s existing nuclear power plants and the deployment of advanced smart grid technology throughout the grid, the spokesperson said.

According to the company, through its “Energy Smart Florida” initiative, it is investing in advanced technologies that include intelligent devices on the electric grid, enhancements to centers that monitor grid performance and 4.5 million smart meters for customers.

“We’re investing in a variety of improvements to an electric grid that spans 27,000 square miles – such as the installation of advanced technology that helps speed restoration time and even prevent some outages from impacting customers,” the spokesperson said.

In March, FPL said it plans to invest more than $200m this year to continue strengthening the electric grid and keep service reliability high. In 2011, FPL continued to take steps to strengthen its electrical infrastructure and to enhance its emergency response capabilities, including pole inspections, system infrastructure hardening and vegetation management.

This year, FPL plans to inspect 137,000 distribution poles and reinforce or replace those that no longer meet the company’s strength standards. FPL also said it plans to begin a new six-year inspection cycle of its transmission structures and complete all remaining follow-up work identified in 2011. Last year, the company replaced more than 10,000 utility poles after inspecting them for strength, including poles along local (distribution) and main (transmission) lines.

The company further noted that it will continue strengthening projects for feeders (main lines) that serve critical infrastructure facilities like hospitals. Also this year, FPL will continue its approved cycle plans to clear more than 12,000 miles of vegetation from its distribution lines and clear all of its transmission rights of way.

Among other things, FPL said it has reduced the average number of service interruptions for customers by about 15% since 2007.

Regarding strengthening the system against severe weather, FPL said a key focus of its storm preparedness program this year includes 27 main power lines and 14 additional neighborhood power line projects. Additionally, FPL is continuing to upgrade its high-voltage transmission lines by replacing wood structures with concrete or steel.

FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE).

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Utilities to spend millions on grid  – Business – Charleston Daily Mail – West Virginia News and Sports –

Utilities to spend millions on grid  – Business – Charleston Daily Mail – West Virginia News and Sports –.

The two largest electric companies in West Virginia say millions of dollars of upgrades approved by the region’s grid operator will maintain reliable electric power supplies in the wake of recently announced power plant retirements.

Upgrades at Appalachian Power Co., FirstEnergy, and other electric utilities were approved Thursday by PJM, the region’s grid operator.

Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power, serves almost 500,000 customers across southern West Virginia and a like number in Virginia.

Spokeswoman Jeri Matheney said projects approved for American Electric Power and its subsidiaries in West Virginia total about $300 million. The projects include:

  • Construction of a new transmission line along the route of an existing line that links a transmission station next to the Kanawha River plant at Glasgow and the Amos plant near Winfield at an estimated cost of $150 million.
  • A new interconnection at the Philip Sporn plant at New Haven, a new transformer at the Mountaineer plant at New Haven, and the construction of a 3/4-mile high voltage line to Sporn at a total cost of $65 million.
  • Improvements at the Kammer transmission station near Moundsville at a cost of $60 million.
  • Improvements to a 13-mile transmission line linking the Kammer transmission station to a site in West Bellaire, Ohio, southwest of Wheeling, at a cost of $20 million.

American Electric Power announced in March that it would retire more than 4,600 megawatts of coal-fired power generation, primarily to comply with a series of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

As previously reported, the company’s Appalachian Power unit plans to close three plants in West Virginia: Kanawha River, Kammer and Sporn.

At the time the closures were announced Nick Akins, American Electric’s president and chief executive officer, said, “We continue to have serious concerns about the potential impact these plant retirements – and retirements of generation announced by other utilities – will have on the reliability of the electricity grid.

“Our retiring units were required to run to meet peak demand last summer, and little new generation is scheduled to come on line prior to the retirement dates to replace this lost generating capacity.”

Matheney said of the approved upgrades, “This is our solution to ensuring the reliability of the grid. We will have to invest in transmission to shore up our infrastructure because of the plant closings.”

The upgrades will be done between now and June 2015 when the plants scheduled for closure are shuttered, she said.

FirstEnergy, the successor to Allegheny Energy, serves 522,000 customers in northern West Virginia. The company’s largest approved project in West Virginia is the construction of a new transmission line linking Buckhannon and Weston at an estimated cost of $17.5 million.

In February FirstEnergy announced it will close its Albright Power Station in Preston County; its Willow Island Power Station on the Ohio River in Pleasants County; and its Rivesville Power Station near Fairmont in Marion County.

Mark Durbin, a FirstEnergy spokesman, said that when the plant retirements were announced, PJM conducted an analysis and determined that not much needed to be done to bolster the grid in the company’s West Virginia service territory.

Durbin said most of FirstEnergy’s work will be in the Cleveland area, where several of the company’s power plants will be retired.

The PJM region includes 60 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

PJM’s Interconnection Board approved a total of nearly $2 billion in electric transmission upgrades.

Since November, power plant owners in the region have announced plans to retire nearly 14,000 megawatts of generation by the end of 2015, PJM said. That’s enough power to supply the state of Indiana’s needs for a year.

Contact writer George Hohmann at busin…@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.

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PECO to Invest in Underground Cable Upgrade

PHILADELPHIA, Apr 26, 2012

PECO will invest approximately $3.2 million this year to replace and perform preventative maintenance on about 19 miles of underground cable that delivers electricity to thousands of residential customers across the region.

About $3 million will be spent to replace 14 miles of underground cable this year. Work has already been completed to inject about five miles of underground cable with silicone gel designed to fill and seal any cracks that may have developed in the cable’s insulation. This $200,000 project is expected to reduce the potential for cable malfunctions and service interruptions to customers.

“By continuously monitoring our electric system’s performance, including the performance of our underground cable, we are able to identify key opportunities to improve service for our customers,” said Eric Helt, vice president of Electric Operations. “Preventative maintenance, upgrading and replacement of our equipment are crucial to providing customers with safe and reliable service every day.”

Underground cable replacement and preventative maintenance are part of PECO’s overall program to ensure safe and reliable electric service for PECO’s 1.6 million electric customers. Each year, the company conducts regular maintenance and inspection of equipment to identify opportunities to improve performance. The company has been lauded as one of Pennsylvania’s safest and most reliable electric and natural gas service providers and has received numerous industry awards for its efforts.

Based in Philadelphia, PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC). PECO serves 1.6 million electric and 494,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and employs about 2,400 people in the region. PECO delivered 82.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 38.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2011. Founded in 1881, PECO is one of the Greater Philadelphia Region’s most active corporate citizens, providing leadership, volunteer and financial support to numerous arts and culture, education, environmental, economic development and community programs and organizations.


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Pacific Gas and Electric’s Meadow Vista dig to bury power lines – Auburn Journal

PG&E’s Meadow Vista dig to bury power lines – Auburn Journal.

Another project in Northern California to underground power lines.

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If Power Lines Fall, Why Don’t They Go Underground?

Some interesting perspectives on the pros and cons of putting power lines underground.

If Power Lines Fall, Why Don’t They Go Underground?


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Will power cables be pushed underground?

A perspective on putting power lines underground in a rural setting – the aesthetic and social impact.

Will power cables be pushed underground?

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Estherville – Conversion of overhead wires to underground system continues – EsthervilleDailyNews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, North Central Iowa, Emmet County — Estherville Daily News

Underground system upgrades in Iowa.

Estherville – Conversion of overhead wires to underground system continues – EsthervilleDailyNews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, North Central Iowa, Emmet County — Estherville Daily News.

From the article:  “We have had a few weather-related calls,” said Eveleth. “All of these will continue to decrease as more of our system is converted to underground.”

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Underground electric lines coming to Independence, MO

New underground power project in Missouri.

Underground electric lines coming to Independence.

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Utility eyes $13 million Cape Ann power boost

National Grid is proposing an underground utility upgrade to help prevent power outages near Gloucester, MA.

Utility eyes $13 million Cape Ann power boost.

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