Brunner Island Power Plant, York Haven, PA
 Environment & Community Plant Fact Sheet

How It Works

The Brunner Island power plant makes electricity by burning coal, our nation's most abundant energy source. Burning coal produces steam that turns a turbine that spins a generator to make electricity.

It starts with coal. The Brunner Island plant burns more than 3 million tons of coal per year. Coal is crushed into a fine powder and burned in large boilers, where water is heated to make steam. Brunner Island has three boilers.

The steam passes through turbines. Each turbine has rings of fan-like metal blades. As steam passes over the blades, the turbines turn very fast.

The turbines have a central metal shaft that is connected to a generator, where an electromagnet spins inside a ring of copper wire to produce electricity.

When the steam has done its work, it is cooled by water from the Susquehanna River, turns back into water, and is pumped back to the boiler to begin the cycle all over again.

At the Preserve

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Brunner Island News

"Souper” employees support Brunner Island donation drive

Brunner Island employees donated more than 1,000 cans of soup to the Bermudian Church of East Berlin, Pa. The church gives the donations to local soup kitchens every year on Super Bowl Sunday.

The donations are given in honor of former Brunner Island employee Tom Iozza, who supported the annual event until his death in 2010.

“I appreciate the generosity of my co-workers who contribute to this cause every year,” said Tim Robertson, a Maintenance production supervisor at the plant who organizes the donation drive in honor of TomIozza. “We also appreciate the cooperation of our local Wal-Mart store, which gives us a nice break on the cost of the soup that I purchase with employee donations.”

soup donations

Brunner Island recertified in federal safety program

PPL’s Brunner Island has been recertified for the second time as a "Star" facility under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program, or VPP.

As part of the VPP Star program, certified facilities must show continuous improvement on an annual basis and have a recertification audit every three to five years. VPP is a national program that recognizes companies that exceed federal compliance levels to reach new standards for worker health and safety. The Star certification is the highest safety recognition given in the program.

"The criteria for receiving ‘Star’ certification are very demanding," said Tom Hickes, plant manager. "The criteria for recertification are even tougher because OSHA is looking for continual improvement in safety programs and performance."

Keeping people safe requires attention to detail, support from everyone in the plant and a high degree of labor-management cooperation.

"We’re very fortunate to have all of those ingredients in place at Brunner Island as we work to achieve our ultimate goal – an injury-free workplace," Hickes said. "I’m proud of how our employees place a high priority on safety. Effective safety rules and work practices are consistently enforced to protect plant employees, workers from other companies and visitors."

During the three-day recertification audit, the OSHA representatives spoke directly to about 80 employees, either in groups or individually.

"One of the biggest things the OSHA representatives commented on was the amount of employee involvement in the recertification process and the fact that all employees seemed to be on the same page when it comes to safety at Brunner Island," said Mike Mannix, chairman of Brunner Island’s VPP team and chief steward with Local 1600 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In the recertification process, OSHA inspectors physically evaluate the plant, review safety policies and procedures, and interview plant employees to verify that safety policies are being put into place. OSHA evaluates management leadership, employee involvement, work-site analysis, training, and hazard prevention and control.

Brunner Island first achieved VPP Star status in 2003, and received its first three-year recertification in 2006. The plant is now on a five-year recertification schedule.

Many other PPL facilities in Pennsylvania and Montana have earned VPP Star status as well.


Meet the Staff

Tom Hickes

Tom Hickes,
Plant Manager

Brunner Island’s plant manager, Tom Hickes, is responsible for the overall safe, reliable and efficient operation of plant.

Tom works closely with the experienced staff at the Brunner Island plant to ensure that safety and environmental responsibility are priorities.

Before joining the PPL team, Tom worked for Allegheny Energy as the regional director for the Harrison Generating Station in West Virginia. He has held positions of increasing responsibility at several other electric companies including Edison Mission Energy and Dominion Resources.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a master’s in business administration from Seton Hill University.

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