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Last updated: September 09. 2013 11:51PM - 5065 Views
JON O’CONNELL joconnell@timesleader.com



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PPL upgrades elsewhere

A new 230-kV circuit is to be added to 8 1/2 miles of existing transmission towers starting from the Jenkins Substation in Plains Township, travel through Wyoming Township, Exeter Borough and end at the Stanton Substation in Exeter Township.



With about 30 miles remaining of the 101-mile power line project underway by PPL, the electric utility company will change the company managing the Susquehanna-Roseland line’s construction.


In 2012, PPL contracted T&D Power Inc., a management company with roots in Mesa, Ariz., to oversee the project. On Friday it was announced PAR Electrical Contractors LLC of Kansas City, Mo., is taking over. PAR has already completed portions of the line and is now coming on board to oversee production in its entirety, said PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth.


Wirth did not explain the reason for the change and called it a “transition of management companies.”


“That was a business decision that we are not discussing,” Wirth said.


Representatives from T&D Power’s office in Clarks Summit declined comment and spokesmen from EC Source, T&D’s parent company, did not immediately return calls Monday.


The project will upgrade the northeast power grid from Berwick, north through Lackawanna County, across through Wayne County and then south to end near the Delaware Water Gap. PPL promises the new line will bring more reliable service and lower distribution rates for some who live near it.


PPL determined in 2008 that blackouts were soon to be inevitable without the grid upgrade.


Overall, the project is to cost about $1.2 billion. PPL’s share on the Pennsylvania side is about $630 million. Public Service Electric & Gas is paying for the last leg from where it crosses the eastern state line to where it ends in Roseland, N.J.


Of the roughly 200 employees hired by T&D, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1319 President David Blauer said, a majority of them were hired through the electrician’s union, though he could not immediately provide an exact number. To his knowledge, most, if not all, of the workers are to stay on working through PAR.


“There are some other people on the job that are from other parts of the country. The company might bring them on for some specific skill that they might have. But all workers went through the Local 1319,” Blauer said.


Wirth said PPL is encouraging the new project manager to retain the seasonal workers to see the job through to completion.


The power line is complete from PPL’s Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant in Salem Township through Scranton. Workers are now forging toward the Lake Wallenpaupack region.


Despite the change of hands in management, the project is on target to meet its spring 2015 deadline, in time to meet elevated electricity demands common in the summer, Wirth said.


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