PPL officials say a new $11.5 million, 11- to 12-mile long power line, will improve service for customers in a portion of Northumberland, Snyder and Juniata counties, which has been experiencing a high number of power outages.

The power line will connect an existing line east of Dalmatia in lower Northumberland County, to another existing line near the Richfield area in Snyder and Juniata counties, crossing the Susquehanna River in a single span in an area about two miles south of Dalmatia.

The line will cross 69 properties.

“This is all part of our ongoing program to ensure safe and reliable electric service for everybody throughout our service territory,” said Joe Nixon, spokesman for PPL.

According to Teri MacBride, regional community relations director for PPL, this new line will be more up-to-date.

“We are responsible for replacing some of our vintage equipment and transmission equipment, to make sure it is of current, modern standards,” she said.

The 69-kilovolt line, while significant to the area, is actually one of the smaller ones that have been built by PPL, MacBride said.

A new substation will also be installed.

The project was announced on Nov. 20, and the finalized route was announced by PPL on Thursday. Public open houses were held in December to get public input and hear concerns. The original plans for the line were modified based on the input that was received, MacBride said.

“There’s always an impact as a result of any sort of infrastructure project,” she said, “but we try to minimize the impact on the environment, our customers, and also on our operational costs to provide the service.”

Construction for the line will begin in summer 2011, and will be completed by fall 2012.

PPL will also host public open houses from 5 to 8 p.m. March 24 at St. Thomas Independent Brethren in Christ Church, 1170 St. Thomas Road, Mount Pleasant Mills, and from 5 to 8 p.m. March 25 at Hickory Corners and Community Fire Company, 1124 Hickory Road, Dalmatia.

“We’ve generally been hearing that many people are in favor of improvements, and they recognize they will have more reliable service as a result of this investment,” MacBride said.

The project will be paid for by all 1.4 million PPL customers, spread over a decade.

“The monthly impact would be minimal,” Nixon said.

PPL has invested $1 billion in improvements since 2004, and plans to invest more than $2.5 billion over the next 10 years.

More information on the new line is available by visiting www.richfielddalmatiaproject.com or by calling (888)266-0146.

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