AEP, Allegheny Energy 275-mile transmission line project moves closer to approval with filing of new data

Source: Allegheny Energy, Inc.

American Electric Power (AEP) and Allegheny Energy, Inc. (AYE) announced that updated testimony filed in West Virginia strongly supports the need for the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH). 

Affiliates of AEP and Allegheny are seeking authorization to construct a 275-mile, 765-kilovolt transmission project extending from the Amos substation in Putnam County, W.Va., to a proposed substation in Frederick County, Md.

The new data, filed as supplemental testimony in an application before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, incorporates new studies by independent grid operator PJM Interconnection recommending the construction of PATH to resolve significant reliability issues on the region’s electric transmission grid. The PATH companies also plan to incorporate the new information into the existing application in Maryland, as well as in a new application to be filed in Virginia in the third quarter. 

“Today’s filing reflects our ongoing commitment to provide state regulatory commissions and the public with the most accurate, up-to-date information available justifying the need for PATH,” said Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AEP. “We strongly support the open, thorough process in place to review evidence supporting this project, and we’re confident that PATH will be found to be absolutely necessary to maintain a reliable electric system.” 

The latest analyses, conducted as part of PJM’s 2010 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), are consistent with previous studies recommending the construction of PATH. PJM evaluated PATH against several alternatives and found it to be the most comprehensive solution to resolve significant voltage-related issues and line overloads that will begin to occur in mid-2015. Among the other alternatives examined, PATH is the only solution that resolves nearly all projected reliability issues within PJM’s 15-year planning period. The new in-service deadline for PATH is June 1, 2015

“Reliable electricity is vital to our economy, national security and way of life,” said Paul J. Evanson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Allegheny Energy. “That’s why it’s critical to have a strong transmission system. We’re committed to taking the necessary and appropriate steps to modernize our nation’s electric grid, with PATH as a vital link.” 

The supplemental testimony and exhibits filed today include updated information on the projected cost of the project. Today’s filing estimates the project cost at $2.1 billion, which accounts for new local and state requirements; minor route adjustments for the overbuilding and relocation of existing transmission lines; changes in design criteria to meet external requirements; and cost increases in labor, materials and services due to the revised project schedule. The original estimate was $1.8 billion. Allegheny Energy’s share of the $2.1 billion total is approximately $1.4 billion, with AEP’s share worth approximately $700 million. 

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