Peco Energy Co. says it has beefed up its facilities to prepare for the demands of summer, but expects usage to be slightly lower this year because of the economy.

The Philadelphia utility says it has completed 41 projects as part of a $400 million capital investment plan for the year.

Peco says this work includes several large substation projects, local capacity expansion projects, circuit patrols and upgrades, and hundreds of tasks across the six county service territory to ensure reliable service for its 1.6 million electric customers this summer.

Based on normal weather, PECO expects a peak demand of 8,455 megawatts this summer, which is about 4 percent lower than 2008 mostly due to economic conditions. The record demand for electricity was Aug. 3, 2006, when customers pushed demand to 8,932 MW during an eight-day heat wave.

PECO is working with the PJM Interconnection, the Valley Forge company that operates the nation's largest power pool, to ensure adequate power supplies this summer.