PECO hopes new high-tech gear will help reduce number of winter power outages

Paul Kurtz
November 20, 2018 - 3:44 pm

Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Last week's snow storm was a reminder to us that winter is coming. It was also a wake-up call for area utility companies making final preparations for the season.     

PECO's Kristina Pappas says it's all about being proactive. 

"A lot of inspections," Pappas said. "We'll inspect a lot of our aerial equipment, our manholes, so that way we can make any sort of necessary repairs prior to anything occurring and prior to us being in these extreme temperatures."

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Preventive maintenance is also a big part of the system-wide preparation process. And there are important smaller scale improvements being made in the suburbs. Over the summer and fall, Pappas says work crews installed new wires and poles, along with some high-tech equipment. One of the new aerial devices is called a recloser.  

"How a recloser works is when something happens on the line, you know, a tree branch falls, lightening strikes, anything like that, the recloser's going to shut it off to keep everything safe," she explained, "and then it will automatically restore where it's possible, where it is safe."

So instead of an entire blocked being knocked out, the power outage is limited to just a few houses. 

Pappas is hoping reclosers will eventually be a system-wide enhancement to the inspections, repairs and other work the company conducts in the months leading up to winter.  

"We're looking at replacing outdated equipment with anything new and updated," she said, "upgrading circuits so they can handle more with growing customers."

PECO and other utility companies are also reminding customers to prepare by having heating systems inspected, putting in storm windows and doors and cleaning air vents.