For Immediate Release
PHILADELPHIA (April 7, 2017) – As part of PECO's ongoing efforts to provide customers with safe and reliable energy service, the company invests more than $500 million each year to enhance its electric and natural gas system infrastructure through preventive maintenance and equipment upgrades.
Through PECO's System 2020 plan, the company is investing an additional $274 million through 2020 to install advanced equipment and reinforce the local electric system, making it more weather resistant and less vulnerable to storm damage.
This ongoing focus on investing and maintaining the company's electric and natural gas systems continued to improve reliability for customers. Last year, the region experienced more frequent storms than the previous year, but the average number of service interruptions was the eighth lowest rate in PECO's history. And, when service was interrupted, crews were able to safely restore service in, on average, 88 minutes. The average duration of a service interruption has been reduced by 15 minutes during the past five years. In all, PECO's investments in its system helped ensure service stayed on 99.987 percent of the time for customers.
"Ensuring safe and reliable natural gas and electric service for our customers is our top priority," said Mike Innocenzo, senior vice president and COO. "Our ongoing investments are paying off for our customers, as they continue to see better and more reliable service. We are committed to continuing this positive trend, delivering the reliable service our customers expect."
Specifically, during the last three months of 2016, PECO completed nearly 200 projects to enhance electric reliability for customers, including 13 System 2020 projects. This work is in addition to 420 projects completed during the first three quarters of 2016, totaling nearly 617 projects.
PECO continued to upgrade and install advanced equipment throughout the region, adding 57 new aerial devices called reclosers to its distribution system. When a problem occurs, like a fallen tree limb, lightning strike or vehicle accident, the recloser stops the flow of electricity on the line and automatically restores electricity where possible. There are more than1,700 reclosers on PECO's system, which prevented more than 500,000 sustained power interruptions for PECO customers in 2016.
To help prevent power outages caused by vegetation, PECO also installs reinforced tree-resistant aerial electric lines. These lines are stronger than traditional lines and can better withstand falling trees and tree limbs. PECO now has more than 33 miles installed across the service territory. Rigorous tree trimming also continues to limit the number of power outages caused by trees and other vegetation. As part of this work, PECO invested about $41 million in vegetation management work around 3,300 miles of aerial electric lines in 2016.
The company also completed more than 1,425 projects to ensure safe and reliable natural gas service for customers. This includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, and preventive maintenance on the company's natural gas transmission and distribution system. In 2016, PECO inspected 2,784 miles of natural gas main, completed more than 10,200 valve inspections and replaced more than 127,000 feet of natural gas main with new pipe, which enhances safety, is more durable and improves service.
PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania's largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to more than 1.6 million electric customers and more than 516,000 natural gas customers in southeastern, Pennsylvania. The company's 2,500 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $4.3 billion in Pennsylvania, supporting more than 8,700 local jobs and producing $732 million in labor income. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's only Fortune 100 utility and leading competitive energy provider. For more information visit PECO.com, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.