BGE seeks waiver in Maryland for new substation project

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) has requested Maryland state regulators waive the requirement to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) in connection with work on sections of existing 115-kV and 230-kV overhead transmission line in Harford County, Md.

The company is building a new 230/115-kV substation, the “Graceton Substation Bypass Project,” in the county to address aging infrastructure within the existing Graceton substation and to otherwise upgrade the facility to enhance service reliability and provide system reinforcement for future area electrical load growth, according to the June 5 filing made with the state Public Service Commission (PSC).

BGE also noted that in order for it to build the new substation, the company will need to build an overhead transmission line bypass of two existing 230-kV circuits and one existing 115-kV circuit that are located on the south side of the existing substation.

The purpose of the bypass is to re-route the existing circuits to open up an area adjacent to the existing Graceton substation where the new Graceton substation will be located.

The scope of the work generally consists of removing two existing lattice tower structures, and erecting seven temporary structures and nine permanent structures.

New conductor, static wire, optical ground wire, insulators and miscellaneous hardware will also be installed on the bypass structures.

BGE also noted that the temporary structures will be removed after the new substation has been completed and the final configuration has been fully energized. That will likely occur in late 2017 after circuits have been transferred from the existing substation to the new one, after which the existing substation will be demolished.

The Public Utility Companies Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland provides in part that for construction related to an existing overhead transmission line designed to carry a voltage in excess of 69kV, the PSC is to waive the requirement to obtain a CPCN if the PSC finds that the construction does not require the electric company to obtain new real property or additional rights-of-way through eminent domain or require larger or higher structures to accommodate increased voltage or larger conductors.

BGE further noted that the statutory requirements for obtaining a mandatory waiver of the CPCN requirements from the PSC are satisfied as all work involved with the project relates to existing overhead transmission lines designed to carry a voltage in excess of 69 kV. Also, in order to build the project, the company will not need to obtain any new real property or additional rights-of-way through eminent domain.

Additionally, BGE will not install any larger or higher structures to accommodate increased voltage as the bypass circuits will remain energized at either 230 kV or 115 kV. Neither will the company install any larger or higher structures to accommodate the larger-size conductors. Of the group of new temporary and permanent structures, the largest structure will have a height of about 130 feet, BGE added.

According to the company, the Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has “[n]o problem with the waiver for the substation bypass.”

The PSC in April granted BGE’s request for a waiver related to work on an existing 230-kV overhead transmission line in Prince George’s County, Md. The PSC has also granted BGE’s request for a waiver involving work on the company’s existing 115-kV overhead transmission line in Anne Arundel County, Md.

BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon (NYSE:EXC).

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.