Smart Grid Installation by PPL

In this 2016 photo, a lineman for PPL Electric Utilities installs "smart grid" equipment on a utility pole.

Lancaster County households are seeing the light much more often these days, thanks to so-called “smart grid” technology installed by PPL Electric Utilities. 

Since the state-of-the-art technology was put in place here in 2016, the number of outages in the county has dropped by 29%, a PPL spokesman said Thursday. 

Compared to the volume of outages here before the “smart grid” system was installed, PPL figures that nearly 157,000 outages were avoided in the county during the 2016-2020 period. 

The averted outages in Lancaster County were among 1 million avoided outages throughout PPL’s 29-county territory since 2015, the utility announced. PPL has invested $173 million throughout its service territory to get the technology in place. 

The smart-grid system uses advanced sensors, switches and software to instantaneously reroute electricity to customers when the original route is disrupted by a blown transformer, toppled utility pole, downed power line or other problem. 

This confines the outage to the smallest possible number of customers, according to PPL. 

In addition to installing the smart-grid technology, PPL has replaced aging equipment with more storm-resistant lines and poles, improved its equipment maintenance program and broadened its tree trimming and removal program.