Lehigh Installs New Distribution Lines to the Electric Substation
Lehigh University owns an electric substation on Mountaintop Campus where power is received at 69,000 volts from Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL). The substation transforms power to 12,470 volts for distribution to nearly all facilities on the Asa Packer and Mountaintop Campuses. Roughly 90% of Lehigh’s electric power comes through the substation, and 75% of that is for Asa Packer Campus.
Lehigh’s electric distribution lines connecting the substation to Asa Packer Campus were installed in the late 1980s. Protective plastic coatings around each electric cable have deteriorated over time, and this system is due for replacement. Rather than replace the existing lines with another overhead system, Lehigh elected to install a new system underground. This work began in July 2018 and will be completed during winter break of 2019-2020. The project cost is expected to be partially reimbursed by a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant. Upon completion, this project will eliminate overhead system reliability issues, and ensure continued power reliability for Asa Packer Campus for several decades.
The new electric distribution system will have a greater carrying capacity to serve new and renovated buildings included in the Path to Prominence. These buildings include Chandler Ullmann, Bridge West Residence Hall, Health, Science, and Technology Building, the University Center, and the College of Business and Economics Expansion. Lehigh Facilities refers to this electric project as an enabling project because utility line installations precede the associated construction projects that they will serve at a later date.