Dominion to put $650 million in new transmission into service

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Dominion Resources Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said on May 4 that the company expects to place about $650 million of new transmission assets into service this year.

“We have a number of electric transmission projects at various stages of regulatory approval and construction,” he said during the company’s 1Q16 earnings call. “Three of these were completed in the first quarter, including phase one of the Loudoun–Pleasant View 500-kV rebuild” in Virginia.

As noted on the company’s website, the south terminal substation for the new line will be Mosby – adjacent to Loudoun – and the north terminal substation will be Goose Creek – near Pleasant View. At the conclusion of the project, the rebuilt 500-kV Loudoun–Pleasant View Line #558 will be split and renamed as Brambleton-Goose Creek Line #558 and Brambleton-Mosby Line #590, the company said.

In February, the Goose Creek to Brambleton portion of that project was re-energized and back in service.

A company spokesperson told TransmissionHub after the call on May 4 that the other projects referenced by Farrell that were completed in 1Q16 are the Eaton’s Ferry to Carolina (115-kV rebuild) project in North Carolina and the Suffolk to Yadkins 230-kV project in Virginia.

As noted on the company’s website, other transmission projects are underway, including the Pacific 230-kV Line & Substation Project in Loudoun County, Va., whose facilities are scheduled to be energized this month.

In addition, new structure construction is scheduled to begin this spring on the Cunningham–Elmont 500-kV Rebuild project, which is scheduled to be energized in December 2017. The line, between the Cunningham and Elmont substations in Fluvanna and Hanover counties, respectively, is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced with new equipment to meet current standards, the company added on its website.

Also, construction is scheduled to begin this spring, pending receipt of applicable permits, on the Four Rivers–Fredericksburg 115-kV Rebuild project. Dominion added on its website that, as part of that project, which is targeted to be complete in summer 2018, it is planning to rebuild an existing high-voltage transmission line that extends about 34 miles from the Four Rivers substation in Hanover County to the Fredericksburg substation in the City of Fredericksburg in Virginia.

The company also noted that construction is scheduled to begin, pending approval and applicable permits, in November on the Benns Church substation project in Virginia. The company said that increasing the size of the substation, which was built in 1972, would allow for additional equipment to be installed to provide improved reliability of electric service in Isle of Wright and the immediate region. The target date to energize the substation is in May 2017, the company said.

Furthermore, in mid-to-late 2016, construction is scheduled to begin, pending necessary approvals, on the Yardley Ridge 230-kV Transmission Line Project in Loudoun County, Va., the company said. The project involves building the new double-circuit line, which would extend from a current transmission line in the area to a new Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative substation facility. The facilities are scheduled to be energized in mid-2018.

Likewise, construction is scheduled to begin, pending necessary approvals, in mid-to-late 2016 on the Poland Rd 230-kV Transmission Line & Substation Project, which the company said would support rapid and continued growth in Loudoun County. The facilities are scheduled to be energized in mid-2018, the company said.

Among other projects, the company also noted that construction is scheduled to begin this year, pending necessary approvals, on the Haymarket 230-kV Line and Substation Project in Virginia. The project includes the new double-circuit transmission line, which will need to be built using existing transportation corridors where possible and requiring new right of way, the company added, noting that the facilities are estimated to be energized in 2018.

During the call, Farrell noted that an application for phase one of Dominion’s strategic undergrounding program was filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in December.

“The filing, which includes a cost-benefit analysis, covers 400 miles of distribution lines to be converted by August of this year at a cost of $140 million,” he said.

Farrell also noted that Dominion in March filed its base rate case for its North Carolina service territory, seeking approval of a $51.1 million increase in base rate revenues, based on a 10.5 percent return on equity. Most of the proposed increase is expected to be offset by reductions in the fuel factor and a two-year rider to refund excess deferred income taxes, he said.

“The company has requested to implement the new rates on a temporary basis on Nov. 1, with permanent rates to be in effect on Jan. 1,” he said.

Among other things, he also discussed Dominion’s proposed merger with Questar Corp.

Dominion and Questar on Feb. 1 announced an agreement for the companies to combine, in an all-cash transaction, in which Dominion has agreed to pay Questar shareholders $25 per share – about $4.4 billion – and assume Questar’s outstanding debt.

“Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance for the Questar transaction was received on Feb. 22, and their shareholder vote is scheduled for May 12,” Farrell said during the call. “Merger applications were filed with the Utah and Wyoming public service commissions, and notice was provided to the Idaho commission. Technical conferences were completed last week and discovery is underway. In Utah, the hearing is scheduled for Aug. 22, and the Wyoming hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14. We expect to close the transaction later this year.”

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