Increased electric service reliability is in sight for a quarter-million PPL Electric Utilities customers in the Poconos and surrounding areas of northeast Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday (1/9) approved the utility's proposed Northeast Pocono Reliability Project, a $335 million project that involves building new electrical substations and a new 230-kilovolt power line running approximately 60 miles, primarily in Lackawanna and Wayne counties.

Other project work is planned to improve existing 69-kilovolt power lines in the region.

Customers in Carbon, Luzerne, Monroe and Pike counties also will benefit from the project. The planned work will reduce the number of outages in the area and the duration of outages caused by severe weather and falling trees.

In addition, the improvements will increase reliability in a region where electric use has grown for decades because of new home construction and general increased power use from things like appliances and electronics.

PPL Electric Utilities submitted the project to the PUC in late December 2012, after soliciting public input at 13 community meetings in the project region.

"We're pleased the PUC gave the go-ahead for this important work," said Stephanie Raymond, PPL Electric Utilities Transmission and Substation vice president. "Investing in our system and keeping it strong means more reliable service for customers."

PPL Electric Utilities is working with various agencies to secure necessary environmental permits. Initial work would include tree clearing along the route for the new power line. It's estimated the project could be complete in 2017.

More information can be found on the project website at www.pplreliablepower.com/northeast-pocono.

PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.

For further information: Joe Nixon, 610-774-5997, jcnixonjr@pplweb.com