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PECO CHAIRMAN JOE PAQUETTE, MAYOR RENDELL HOST PREMIER FOR NEW CROWN LIGHTS

 PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Messages atop the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) headquarters building in Center City will be more recognizable and easier to read beginning tonight.
 In a ceremony, PECO chairman Joseph F. Paquette, Jr. and Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell activated a new system for PECO "Crown Lights" that will brighten the city's skyline with dramatic messages.
 The first messages:
 "PECO Crown Lights Salute Philadelphia's ... History ... People ... Future"
 "Enjoy Center City ... on Wednesday nights ... 'Make it a Night' Returns March 10"
 Tonight's premier of the new Crown Lights system reflected several improvements.
 The project included: the removal of eight metal columns on the building's North and South sides, clearing visual obstacles to several banks of bulbs; installation of 600 new light fixtures and a total of 2,600 new bulbs; 10,000 new wiring connections; new computer hardware and a message control package that will greatly enhance the automated display capability.
 The improvements allow the Crown Lights messages (38 feet high and 148 feet long along each North and South building side and 71 feet long along each East and West side) to be more visible from all directions and expand the capability to provide a greater variety of messages with more creative methods.
 For more than 16 years, PECO has recognized special occasions and local events and helped civic and community groups see their names in lights.
 Paquette said, "Messages on the Crown Lights have become a PECO and Philadelphia tradition."
 In 1992, PECO displayed nearly 850 messages, and there have been more than 10,000 since the first message, in color, celebrated the nation's bicentennial on July 4, 1976.
 At that time, the light bulbs had to be changed by hand to form each
message, which remained displayed for a week or longer. The messages were created by screwing in bulbs one-by-one, following a hand-made diagram, taking three days to program.
 In 1980, an automated system was designed and installed inside PECO's 27th floor control room. An inside switch panel permitted the 2,200 bulbs to be energized from inside the tower within 10 minutes. The computer program was enhanced six years ago to program the Crown Lights in less than a minute.
 The lights display various messages from sundown to 3 a.m. nightly, and from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. with the message "Good Morning Phila". The bulbs are checked weekly.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/22/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Wood, 215-841-4125, or Steve Gary, 215-841-4127, both of Philadelphia Electric/
 (PE)


CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

MJ -- PH045 -- 9134 02/22/93 18:30 EST
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Date:Feb 22, 1993
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