The $200 million project that PPL Electric Utilities is calling the "Northeast-Pocono Reliability Project" has been recently submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for approval.
The project involves the construction of three new electrical substations and a new 230-kilovolt power line, and is intended to improve electric service for approximately 250,000 people in northeast Pennsylvania and the Poconos.
The new project will stretch from the Wilkes-Barre area all the way to Lake Wallenpaupack.
According to Stephanie Raymond, PPL Electric Utilities Transmission and Substation vice president, "(the project) will reduce the number of power outages experienced by our customers, and also will reduce the duration of outages caused by falling trees or sever weather."
PPL insists that the project is needed to accommodate the increased electricity use in the region, which has been increasing for decades.
"While this growth has been somewhat reduced by customers using energy more efficiently," PPL said, "overall demand - particularly during peak times such as cold winter snaps - is expected to continue to grow."
"Another need for the project relates to the existing network of 69-kilovolt power lines in this area which are no longer adequate to serve customer needs.
"The lines are up to 40 miles long, exposing customers to more frequent and longer service outages if lines are damages during storms.
"The new power line will be about 58 miles long, and will connect the new electrical substations to the existing high-voltage grid, strengthening the local deliver network."
According to the application filed, upon Commission approval of the plan, construction will begin in the spring of 2014, with an expected in service date of November 2017.
Also, PPL was required to send out 94 "Notice of Filings" via certified mail to various agencies and affected property owners to let them know the application was filed. The approval process is expected to take about a year.
Copies of the application that was filed with the PUC are available at the following municipal buildings: Clifton, Covington, Lehigh, Madison and Thornhurst. It can also be viewed at www.puc.state.pa.us, Reference Docket #: A-2012-2340872.