Energy company PECO put a new substation to use earlier this month, replacing one that was over 100 years old.
The new Peltz substation, which serves University City and part of Center City, replaced the Schuylkill substation.
The decision to invest in the substation is largely based on the growing costs of maintaining and repairing the old Schuylkill substation in order to supply adequate electricity to the area.
Construction began in December 2009 after PECO invested over $60 million into the project. The Peltz substation now includes 32 circuits and three new transformers, along with 100,000 feet of new underground cable.
“We continuously monitor our electric system performance,” PECO Senior Communications Specialist Liz Williamson said. “We are always looking to the future to anticipate customer needs.”
“It made much more sense to build a completely brand new substation with new equipment,” she added.
PECO, an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, serves around 695,000 customers in Philadelphia County.
According to Williamson, businesses and residents in the area should not notice any differences in their regular electricity supplies. Rather, the new Peltz substation will help “to minimize the number of customers that are affected when there is an outage,” she said.
A look at recent power outages in the area includes one that occurred in April of last year near 40th and Walnut streets. The outage was due to cable failure and affected students and local businesses. After approximately two hours, PECO had restored power to most of the customers.
Back in September 2007, cable problems caused by inadequate load capacities also led to a series of fires at 39th and Delancey streets and 41st and Walnut streets. The ground cable failures due to the aging infrastructure required replacing and restringing cables at the time.
Apart from power outages, though, Penn students have not experienced much, if any, electricity issues.
College senior Oliver Palley, said he has not had any other problems with electricity at his rented apartment. “I’m not concerned about my electricity,” he said.
College junior Susan Fowler also said she has not had problems with electricity at her off-campus house. The only power outage Fowler has experienced was during Hurricane Irene, which she had anticipated. “I kind of expected it to happen so I wasn’t surprised,” Fowler said.