PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17, 2003 — PECO customers in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties saw their power restored about 13 minutes faster in 2002, when outages did occur, thanks to capital improvements, aggressive preventive maintenance efforts and full utilization of the company’s new outage management system.
Each year, PECO tracks not only how often each customer is without service, but also how quickly service is restored. During 2002, PECO customers experienced, on average, only slightly more than one power outage. This places the company well above the national average, when compared to other utilities. And, when outages did occur, the average length of each outage decreased from almost 120 minutes in 2001 to only 106 minutes in 2002.
The improvement was due, in part, to more than $200 million in capital projects completed in 2002 to ensure service reliability for customers by upgrading equipment and expanding capacity. Another roughly $30 million was devoted to preventive and corrective maintenance efforts including visual patrols of the Company’s 2,200 distribution circuits, inspections using infrared cameras and replacement of transformers, cables and other equipment.
An additional $18 million was devoted to vegetation management and hazardous tree removal along aerial power lines. Finally, $27 million was allocated to improve system performance with dozens of projects completed to enhance service in specific areas including the installation of lightning arresters, circuit sectionalizers and reclosers to pinpoint and isolate trouble on the system — reducing the number of outages caused by vehicle accidents, animal interference or equipment problems.
Crews worked to improve reliability in targeted communities including Center City Philadelphia; Lower Providence, Upper Providence, North Wales and Pottstown, Montgomery County; Eagle, Jennersville, Newlinville and West Grove, Chester County; Bristol, Buckingham, Croydon, Doylestown, Falls and Warrington, Bucks County and Concordville, Middletown, Newtown Square and Upper Darby, Delaware County among others.
“We’ve had a very good year,” said Denis O’Brien, executive vice president. “Our substantial strategic investments, preventive maintenance efforts and aggressive vegetation management programs are paying off. Also, our crews continue to be highly motivated and focused to get the job done. And with our new Outage Management System, we were able to better dispatch and allocate our crews to exactly where they were the most needed.”
O’Brien said plans are already underway for even better results in 2003, as the company continues year two of a three year, $15 million investment in automatic switching equipment to decrease the number of interruptions to customers among other initiatives.
Based in Philadelphia, PECO Energy is an electric and natural gas utility and an active corporate citizen serving southeastern Pennsylvania. PECO and its Chicago-based sister company, ComEd, are subsidiaries of Exelon Energy Delivery. Its parent, Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC – News), is a $15 billion provider in the energy industry with the largest retail utility customer base, a large, diverse power generation portfolio and a leading wholesale energy marketing operation in North America. PECO delivered 35.1 million megawatt hours of electricity and 81.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2001, generating $3.9 billion in revenue in 2001. PECO serves 1.5 million electric and 445,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania.