PECO unveiled its plan to leverage available funds from the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to make critical energy infrastructure investments and support community-based initiatives to transform southeastern Pennsylvania. The CREATE Plan, which stands for Creating a Resilient, Equitable, and Accessible Transformation in Energy, is centered on the “Lower South Philadelphia” economic and innovation hub and includes investments to strengthen reliability and support distribution of emissions-free hydroelectric power across southeastern Pennsylvania, benefitting the company’s nearly 1.7 million customers.

CREATE includes plans to modernize aging underground infrastructure, relocate substation equipment away from flood-prone areas, and install microgrid and battery storage technology to support utility storm response. These investments will improve reliability and resiliency in the face of a changing climate and increase grid capacity to enable electrification, electric vehicle charging and job growth in the region.

The CREATE Plan incorporates labor engagement, workforce training, education, supplier diversity, engagement with disadvantaged communities, and community-based energy resiliency investments as core elements of a region-wide approach to improving our electric distribution infrastructure for all customers. Working with a broad range of community partners, PECO will support programs that focus on introducing individuals from diverse communities to employment in the energy industry and coordinate with contractors, vendors, and project partners to promote opportunities for graduates of these programs into family-sustaining careers.

Overall, CREATE provides a comprehensive platform for the Philadelphia region’s energy future, delivering significant reliability and resilience benefits and advancing energy equity in disadvantaged communities. These efforts will provide a scalable model for local climate resilience and long-term participation in the sustainable energy economy. Economic models forecast that the capital investment associated with CREATE will have a total employment impact of 2,600 jobs.

As part of the application process, PECO worked to obtain nearly 50 letters of support from a broad array of stakeholders, including: Governor Josh Shapiro, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Joanna McClinton, U.S. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, the bipartisan Pennsylvania U.S. House delegation, the City of Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, and numerous community-based and business organizations. 

Stay tuned for more information on PECO’s CREATE Plan – grant awards will be announced in Summer 2023!