The History of PowerLabs’ Testing and Calibration Services
April 12, 2022
Our History of Testing and Calibration Services
Well over a hundred years ago, before Constellation came into formation, the Brush Electric Company began in 1881 and was one of the nation’s early electric energy suppliers. During this period of growth and prosperity in the electric industry, competition increased immensely as electric companies rapidly started to produce a greater supply of electricity. It wasn’t until 1902 that the region’s light and power companies merged into what became The Philadelphia Electric Company.
The Philadelphia Electric Company went on to serve the Greater Philadelphia region as a major utility company and energy provider; it would later become known as PECO and continues to serve the area today. As electricity took hold in and around Philadelphia, individual meters were put into place to measure the accuracy of the output. As the meters’ accuracy declined, it was determined that frequent calibrations would cut costs and ensure accuracy. In 1911, the Philadelphia Electric Company developed a testing section to perform all meter calibration services and testing in a laboratory setting.
While the Testing Sections’ work originally centered on meter calibrations, new developments lead the laboratory to expand in further areas of calibration and testing. These new explorations came with various growth opportunities and changes for the company, transforming from The Philadelphia Electric Company’s Testing Section to Corporate Laboratories, and eventually PECO PowerLabs.
Our Laboratory’s Growth Over the Decades
As electricity became more popular, demand for meters and the need for accuracy increased. In 1911 The Philadelphia Electric Company created the testing section to uphold quality and accuracy in their meters. The Testing Section calibrated 46,261 meters in the first year alone.
The Philadelphia Electric Company continued to grow in the energy markets; from building the Schuylkill Power Station in 1915, world’s largest turbo-generator of its time, to producing the second largest hydroelectric project in the United States after Niagara Falls in 1928.
As new opportunities unfolded within the company, the Testing Section expanded outside of calibrations. During the 1930s and 40s, the Testing Section implemented the testing of parts’ functionality for the company’s utilities. This testing approach is similar to Constellation PowerLabs’ current Parts Quality Initiative (PQI) program before it was fully implemented in 2006.
In the late 1950’s, the Philadelphia Electric Company submitted a proposal for the creation of Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. In 1967, Peach Bottom Unit 1 was fully constructed. This was a momentous occasion for the Testing Section, as they began performing testing and calibration services in the nuclear industry.
The Testing Section emerged as a valuable asset to the nuclear industry for the Philadelphia Electric Company. As the Testing Section continued its growth in the various energy markets, it developed further testing services including metallurgical, chemical and failure analysis.
The Changing of Names
In the mid 1980s, the Philadelphia Electric Company’s Testing Section changed its name to Corporate Laboratories, remaining as a subsidiary under Philadelphia Electric Company. As the laboratory continued to support the company’s utilities for testing and calibration services, it soon expanded in 1993 as a commercial supplier.
As the Philadelphia Electric Company shortened their name to PECO, eventually Corporate Laboratories changed its name to PECO PowerLabs in 1995.
The Formation of Constellation
Over the decades, major utility companies populated across the United States providing energy sources from electric to nuclear. In late 2000, PECO Energy Company and Unicom Corporation merged together to form one of the largest energy companies in the nation known as Exelon Corporation.
After the merger, PECO PowerLabs became Exelon PowerLabs after the Exelon merger with the intention of being the primary lab for Exelon Corporation’s nuclear power plants. In 2003, Exelon PowerLabs became Exelon PowerLabs, LLC. In 2022, Exelon split into two publicly traded companies known as Exelon and Constellation.
Exelon Corporation became one of the leading energy utility and nuclear energy providers in the country as a result of the merger. From the expansion of these two large entities uniting, Exelon is able to provide energy across the country. As Exelon continued its growth, it has assumed operation of over a dozen carbon-free nuclear power plants.
Exelon has grown exponentially since the merger, as it has become a Fortune 100 Company and employs more than 34,000 people. Exelon owns six utility companies, thirteen nuclear plants, three solar power generation systems, forty wind projects and many more in the energy markets.
Since then, Exelon split into two publicly traded companies in February, 2022 now known as Exelon and Constellation. PowerLabs then became a subsidiary of Constellation after the split under the name Constellation PowerLabs LLC.
Constellation PowerLabs Today
Constellation PowerLabs is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation, one of the nation’s leading competitive energy providers. Since 1911, PowerLabs has transformed from a support to the power industry to the primary calibrations and testing laboratory for Constellation, commercial power generation and other highly regulated industries. We have four individual labs strategically located from the upper-Midwest to the Northeast United States, enabling our experienced staff of experts in engineering, metrology, and nuclear power generation to support the urgent demands of our nation’s nuclear facilities, power grids, and critical supply chains.
Due to the breadth of Constellation PowerLabs experience in the nuclear industry, the lab has amassed an extensive inventory of lab equipment to perform a full spectrum of highly accredited calibration services, testing, and analyses including:
- Calibration Services: Advanced in standard and accredited 10CFR 50 Appendix B and ISO 17025 calibrations, PowerLabs is able to deliver quality calibration services among a diverse set of disciplines unlike any other laboratory. ANSI, NQA-1, A2LA, etc.
- High Voltage Calibrations: PowerLabs’ calibration of entire high voltage laboratories and testing facilities are unmatched. We provide ISO 17025 accredited high-voltage and high-current calibrations difficult to source in North and South America.
- Failure Analysis: Our extensive experience combined with decades of failure analysis records drive data-informed decisions to identify why a part failed and inform root cause.
- Parts Quality Testing (PQI): PQI critical characteristics’ testing ensures defective parts are identified before inventorying and installation, reducing downtime, labor and logistics costs.
- Chemical Analysis & Testing: Our chemical analysis includes contamination detection, identification of unknown chemicals, or verification of known chemicals to support your quality control monitoring.
- Material Analysis & Testing: With advanced equipment and techniques, we perform chemical, mechanical, microscopy/macroscopy, destructive and non-destructive testing for metal materials, components, and products.
- Commercial Grade Dedication Testing: We test over 12,000 safety related components annually providing our customers unmatched reliability and cost-saving alternatives to OEM replacements.
- 3D Laser Scanning: Our laser scanning equipment quickly captures detail of an entire area such as a substation or a nuclear plant. Laser scanners create a 360-degree point cloud enabling a high level of accuracy.
The Future of Constellation PowerLabs
In 1993, PowerLabs expanded outside the energy market. Our laboratory calibration services and testing realm also caters to pharmaceuticals, aerospace, military, manufacturing, biotech and more.
Through two world wars and 9/11, Constellation PowerLabs remains steadfast in providing quality and precision to our customers. From calibrating meters in the early 1900’s to performing 1 million volt high voltage calibrations, our commitment to accuracy shall never cease.