Pennsylvania opens electricity unit

John Baxter | June 09, 2010
Electrification modules will be free until July 4.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission on June 4 marked the opening of the only Truck Stop Electrification facility in the state at its New Stanton Service Plaza, located off the westbound lanes of the Turnpike at milepost 77.

The TSE system, developed by CabAire, provides service towers equipped with modules that fit into truck cab windows and supply heat, air conditioning, Internet, TV and electrical power to trucks and other diesel powered vehicles while the engine is shut off. The cost to use a TSE module per hour is about the same as a gallon of diesel fuel. CabAire has agreed to provide the service free until July 4. 

The TSE facility was constructed to provide assistance to truckers and other operators of diesel powered vehicles to comply with state regulations that prohibit motor vehicles weighing more than five tons from idling their engines at rest stops. The Diesel Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act went into effect in January 2009.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection funded construction of the electrification facility for $478,396 via a State Clean Diesel Grant. This grant came through an allocation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

CabAire LLC, a subsidiary of Control Module Industries of Enfield, Conn., will provide the equipment and operate and maintain the facility for 10 years. HMSHost Corp. and Sunoco will provide on-site support. In addition, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, also known as GASP, has been contracted by the state’s environmental protection department to educate the public about the new law, to assist truckers in compliance and publicize health risks caused by idling diesel engines.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier said, “We are very proud to have constructed this facility, which is the only one of its kind in the state, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This is one of many efforts the PTC is making to provide a greener environment throughout our organization, and most importantly, this TSE is designed to help reduce pollution and land development impacts to the neighborhoods surrounding our New Stanton Service Plaza.”

The Commission estimates two million trucks use the turnpike monthly and that 5,800 trucks use or drive past the New Stanton Service Plaza daily.

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