The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has unanimously approved Philadelphia-based PECO Energy Co.'s long-term infrastructure improvement plan (LTIIP), which is expected to cost the company more than $534 million and take two decades to complete.

PECO first filed its LTIIP in May 2013, but it was updated earlier this year to accelerate replacement of its at risk natural gas mains and help provide for a faster relocation of indoor meters to outdoor structures. The company provides electric delivery service to about 1.6 million people and natural gas delivery to about 495,000 customers in five southeastern Pennsylvania counties.

PECO data indicates that its at-risk pipelines make up only 12% of its entire system, but they are responsible for nearly all of the company's leaks.

Under its updated plan, PECO's annual spending for upgrades would increase  by 2018 to $61 million from $34 million. Total costs would rise from the $371.3 million forecast in May 2013 to $534.4 million. The modified LTIIP would also accelerate replacing cast iron and bare steel mains by 2035 instead of 2047. The company also now plans to finish relocating indoor meters by 2034.

PECO's plan comes at a time when utilities across the country are upgrading outdated infrastructure. Earlier this year, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania filed a request with the PUC to help fund infrastructure and safety upgrades for its 26-county service area (see Daily GPIMarch 24). Last year, UGI Utilities' Gas Division was approved for its LTIIP, which is expected to cost $51.2 million annually through 2018 (see Daily GPIJuly 10, 2014).