Smarter Power To The Poconos

POCONO TOWNSHIP — Power lines in the Poconos are becoming “smarter” with the help of some new technology.

Crews from PPL were busy Thursday installing devices that will be able to sense when there’s a power outage.

For PPL customers in Monroe County, power outages may now happen less often and won’t last nearly as long.

Hundreds of “smart grid devices” are going up along power lines and are designed to help keep the lights on.

“It’s the way that we can improve our liability for customers, help restore customers quicker in the event of an outage,” said PPL area supervisor Aaron Lynn.

PPL says more than 200 of these devices are going up throughout the Poconos. Computers will be able to detect when there’s a problem, from a squirrel screwing up the lines, to downed trees, or even an accident.

“The computer system now talks to every device, every 15 minutes, and if there is a problem, it will automatically recognize that problem,” said telecommunication standards manager Timothy Figura

PPL believes the $10 million investment will reduce long outages, such as those caused by Hurricane Sandy when some areas were without power for days.

“Any outage event, whether it’s a minor thunderstorm or a major severe weather event such as Hurricane Sandy, this system and these devices will absolutely help,” said Lynn.

In addition to this smart grid technology installation, crews are also going to start installing a Hendrix cable that will help reduce power outages in heavily-treed areas, something many people are looking forward to.

“That’s fantastic. We’d love to see that. There’s times where when the lights blink your heart always drops,” said Bob Jakubowitz at the Tannersville Inn.

The general manager of the Tannersville Inn says when his dining room is full, power outages can hurt his bottom line. He welcomes this smart power upgrade outside his restaurant.

“Everybody looks around in a semi-panic wondering ‘what’s the story?’ And if it’s only out for a short period of time rather than waiting for a truck to come in with linemen, we’re all for it.”

The project won’t be causing any PPL customers to see their bills go up either.

Company officials say this project has already been budgeted for and should be complete by November.

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