The $38m three year project, which was supported by a federal stimulus grant, involved the deployment of automated devices along 50 local distribution circuits serving about 60,000 customers.

It also included upgrades to 10 area electric substations across 150 square miles and development of a dedicated, secure communications system.

PPL Electric Utilities distribution operations vice president David Bonenberger said, "We’re encouraged by the early success of the PPL smart grid in the Harrisburg area. We’re implementing a stronger, more modern distribution system to better serve our customers for years to come."

With the technology, system operators will be alerted by smart devices in real time when an outage takes place and allow them to remotely reroute power flow to quickly restore as many customers as possible.

The Harrisburg project began with an application for a federal stimulus grant in 2009 and a contract with the Department of Energy in the spring of 2010.

As a result of the Harrisburg area reliability improvements, the company has planned to expand the deployment of distribution automation in other areas of its territory over the next five years.

The company will invest $10m in 2013 in the Poconos region to upgrade the distribution automation system.

Under the five-year plan, the company has committed to invest $100m in smart grid deployment, while all of the company’s customers will be served by automated circuits by the end of 2018.