PPL keeps up maintenance so reliability remains strong
Your mechanic will tell you regular maintenance is important if you want to keep your car running smoothly.
Maintenance also is very important in the PPL Electric Utilities world of delivering your power.
The company spends millions of dollars each year inspecting and maintaining its equipment so reliability remains strong. We need to make sure it can perform year round, especially during the high-demand seasons of summer and winter.
Our inspection and maintenance regimen includes annual helicopter patrols of our transmission lines and more comprehensive aerial inspections on a four-year cycle. We also perform ground patrols of approximately 1,500 miles of transmission lines each year.
Part of our inspection regimen involves infrared thermal inspections. This winter, we'll be conducting those inspections on 1,500 miles of overhead distribution lines in the Susquehanna and central regions, which includes Marion Heights, Sunbury and Bloomsburg.
As part of our overall system maintenance program, line maintenance inspectors use specially mounted cameras on the vehicles to patrol thousands of miles of distribution lines that run along roadways across our system.
With 33,000 miles of overhead distribution lines, PPL Electric Utilities scans portions of its primary distribution system each year, mainly during the winter months, in an effort to identify needed maintenance that will prevent future outages and improve service reliability.
The camera captures a thermal image of the utility's electrical components, such as power lines and transformers. This method detects potential problems, such as an overloaded line, which may not be visible to the naked eye.
The program is completed during the winter months because the scanner is more effective at identifying potential equipment problems in colder temperatures. Any identified equipment problems then are scheduled for repair or replacement, which becomes the basis for the utility's ongoing maintenance work through the spring and the rest of the year.
PPL Electric Utilities also conducts visual inspections of equipment at local substations and along its distribution facilities. The company's line inspectors and line crews look for visible defects in equipment including poles, crossarms and other electrical components.
In addition, engineers regularly review performance of distribution lines and identify solutions like additional fuses, more lightning arrestors or installation of automated devices to provide better performance. In some cases, circuits are re-designed to improve reliability for customers.