Engineering an electric and educational future

Engineering an electric and educational future

This week is Engineers Week, a time dedicated to celebrating all that engineers do to make a difference, while promoting the need for more engineers in society. We’re proud of our hardworking, innovative engineers who help push us toward our goal of becoming the utility of the future. 

Francis Frank is one of our engineers making a difference both here at PPL Electric and beyond. As the director of grid modernization, he’s tasked with keeping our grid reliable for years to come. 

“I look at the grid today, and I prepare it for the future,” Frank said. “I’m figuring out how solar, electric vehicles, wind and other renewable energy sources will affect the grid.” 

As Francis looks toward the future, he’s motivated by his past. He is a proud native of the Caribbean island country of Grenada. From a young age, he took an interest in how energy worked at home.

“I saw how the lack of proper administration of power services, like power distribution, affected the island,” he said. “I was always interested in figuring out why a country with so much sunshine was powered by diesel.” 

Francis received an associate degree in Grenada before moving to the United States. His plan was to get a second degree and head home. Over 20 years later, he is still making a difference in the U.S. He joined PPL Electric in September of 2022, and has been working with his 67 team members to advance a safe, reliable and affordable electric future. Francis says that progression would not be possible without his team. 

“My team is the valuable resource that enables my success,” he said. “Our engineers and technicians provide the technical solutions to enable the grid modernization projects and processes. The foundation of this team is allowing us to become the utility of the future.” 

Although he stayed in America, his roots are still deeply embedded in the communities that make up Grenada. He is the president of his family’s foundation, dedicated to helping provide schoolbooks, fees, uniforms and more to local students.  

“I’m blessed,” he said. “I consider myself, first and foremost, an ambassador to Grenada. The foundation is a way to represent my country and help it come together as one nation with one future.” 

As an engineer, Francis says he would love to see some of these students be inspired by the island around them and take a similar path, but he says there’s also a need for engineers here in the U.S. 

“Engineers are so valuable,” he said. “We need to encourage STEM programs in our education systems, so we can have engineers ready to come up with important solutions in our future. Our value should always be celebrated and encouraged.” 

Francis solves problems today that positively impact the years ahead. He’s engineering a clean, affordable energy future, while engineering an educational foundation for children in his native country. 

“It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding because I know where I come from and I’m blessed to have this opportunity,” he said. “Somebody ought to do it, and I’m blessed that I’ve been chosen to take it on.” 

We are grateful for Francis and the many engineers that help us provide safe, reliable power to over 1.5 million customers. 

Power to the PEEPS

Power to the PEEPS

We pride ourselves on delivering safe, reliable and affordable electricity to a variety of businesses across our territory. One company we’re especially proud to power, sits in the quaint town of Bethlehem and has been manufacturing marshmallow PEEPs® Brand marshmallow candies for the past 100 years.

If you’ve never heard of Just Born Quality Confections, its impressive manufacturing plant spans 14 acres, has 7 kitchens and uses 100 PSI of compression to whip marshmallow for 5.5 million PEEPS® per day. The Company operates industrial sized fans, blowers, steam, and refrigeration twenty-four hours a day, 5 days a week. Naturally, reliable power plays a critical role in their operations. An unplanned power outage would mean lost production time and a lengthy, sticky, cleaning process to ramp back up. This multi-generational, family-owned company acknowledges the importance of quality power to operate its busy plant.

“We use a huge amount of power to make PEEPS®, Mike and Ike® and Hot Tamales® Brand candies,” said Just Born Senior Manager of Engineering and Facilities, David Escott. “We are so grateful to PPL Electric Utilities’ strong electric infrastructure and the responsive support we receive from our key account manager, Javid. Our electricity has been highly reliable over the years,” said David Escott.

In addition to providing reliable power, we are focused on helping our customers save energy and drive efficiency through their operations. A few years ago, we recommended energy-efficiency measures to help reduce costs for the PEEP® Brand’s operations. Just Born replaced a chiller from the 1990s, earning them a $60,000 rebate. The new chiller saves the company approximately $70,000 a year in energy costs. Pretty sweet.

So, the next time you enjoy a pack of PEEPS®, Mike and Ike® or Hot Tamales®, remember the power it takes to create these sweet treats. Reliable power is important to Just Born, Quality Confections and Just Born, like all our customers, is important to us.

Groundhog Day – Let’s talk weather forecasts

Groundhog Day – Let’s talk weather forecasts

Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication on Gobbler’s Knob for an early spring might make you sad – or glad – depending on your love of snow and cold weather.

For an electric utility, however, watching the weather isn’t a matter of shadows. It’s a serious, around-the-clock job that helps us keep your service reliable and helps us plan for stormy weather that can cause outages.

We contract with several weather services to keep us informed of current and future weather conditions. From there, we use modeling and our experience to make plans about staffing, materials, and more.

Our service territory covers 10,000 square miles. That’s a larger area than New Jersey. This includes both urban and rural areas, mountains and valleys. Weather can vary widely depending on location and elevation. In the same day, it can be sunny in Lancaster and stormy in the Poconos, and knowing that in advance is a big advantage. That’s why we monitor around the clock, every day of the year.

Forecasting can help us make plans for all kinds of weather. In serious storms, like hurricanes, we can call in mutual assistance from other utilities, if that’s necessary. Expanding our crews helps to get the lights back on quicker.

The bottom line is this: Whether Phil sees his shadow or not, whether an almanac predicts bad or fair weather, we’re ready.

Keeping our customers safe and the lights on in Harrisburg

Keeping our customers safe and the lights on in Harrisburg

It took a lot of strategic planning, hard work and the use of a 100-ton crane, but residents on one city block in Harrisburg can rest easier now that a huge tree that had become a safety hazard is gone.Equipment ready to cut down a massive tree

We partnered with the City of Harrisburg and tree-removal experts to safely remove the gargantuan Elm, with roots spanning multiple properties and branches entangled in our power lines.

Once customers began calling with safety concerns, we knew we had to act before the tree caused an electrical fire or outages—or fell and hurt someone or damaged property.

“Tree maintenance on private property generally isn’t our responsibility,” said Regional Affairs Director Maggie Sheely. “But, when it comes to safety, we don’t compromise. We step up to do the right thing and keep our customers safe.”

Equipped with bucket trucks and generators, our crews were on site for four days, untangling the large tree from our lines with precision.

It was a TREE-mendous effort by all that created a safer environment and ensured more reliable service for some Harrisburg residents.

Ready to Roll: It’s Storm Season and We’re Prepared To Respond

Ready to Roll: It’s Storm Season and We’re Prepared To Respond

September is recognized annually as National Preparedness Month—an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies.

What’s more, for the third year in a row, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic.

Pennsylvania doesn’t have a coastline, but we can still be impacted by hurricanes, tropical storms and other bouts of severe weather. We want you to know that when mother nature lashes out, we’re ready to respond to power outages as safely and quickly as possible, around the clock, to get the lights back on.

Not only are we prepared to respond to outages, we’ve taken steps to help avoid them altogether, despite the weather.

The investments we’ve made in our electric grid have made it more reliable than ever, even during extreme weather. Sensors on our smart grid identify outages quickly and can automatically reroute power to get as many customers back up and running as possible, often in seconds. In fact, since 2015, our advanced grid has helped prevent more than 1.4 million customer outages.

Like we always say: The best outage is an outage that never happens in the first place.

Smart grid devices are just one part of our investments to continuously improve the reliability of your electric service. Other work includes new power lines and substations; stronger, more storm-resistant poles; and trimming more trees. Find out more about the ways we’re strengthening the electric delivery system to meet your expectations for safe, reliable service at

Be prepared. Stay informed.

Have you managed your alerts recently? We’ve made it easier than ever for you to stay informed during severe weather with our automated alerts. You can receive information regarding outages, repair crew status and estimated restoration times, all via text message, phone or email. Pick your preferences at And remember that you can report or check on an outage at

Plus, we use social media to provide storm updates and share tips on how to stay safe before, during and after storms. Follow us @PPLElectric for all the latest news and updates.