Upper Allen residents upset over PPL upgrades

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A local power company plans to build on nine properties in one Midstate community. Many residents want to fight them, but to do so, they’d have to go to court and face eminent domain.

Barry Strock, a farmer in Upper Allen Township, found out about PPL’s plans last month.

“Utilities has the right to cross your property whether you like it or not,” Strock, who has a horse boarding business and crop farm, said.

PPL announced a new power line and substation, plus three facility upgrades, in Upper Allen Township. The company says it will improve service to the ever-growing Cumberland County and prevent outages.

“Originally PPL wanted to go directly through the center of this farm,” Strock said. “And we were very against that.”

Nine other property owners raised concerns about safety, property value and other things. The township wrote letters to county and state officials, but found out there’s really nothing they can do.

The only option for residents is to take PPL to court and face eminent domain, which the electric company says they try to avoid.

“The power is definitely a need with Cumberland County,” Upper Allen Township Manager Lou Fazekas said. “There’s no way around it. Somebody’s going to be impacted.”

Strock is one of those people.

“If they start in the middle of growing season, it will affect me.”

But, he says he was able to win a few battles.

“We were able to move it out to the property lines, but we weren’t able to stop it,” Strock said.

The first project could start as early as summer.

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