Maryland PSC staff recommends approval of Delmarva Power’s proposed 138-kV line

Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) staff has recommended that Delmarva Power be allowed to build a new 138-kV overhead transmission line in Queen Anne’s County, Md.

Specifically, staff said in its Oct. 1 brief filed with the PSC that the company’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build the new line on existing right-of-way from the Church substation to the Wye Mills substation be granted, subject to certain conditions that have been recommended by staff and the state Department of Natural Resources’ Power Plant Research Program (PPRP).

The PPRP on Sept. 4 submitted to the PSC amended initial recommended licensing conditions for the Church-Wye Mills project. In a separate Sept. 4 filing with the PSC, the company said it confirms that the amended initial recommended licensing conditions are acceptable.

The company is proposing to build the new $31.3m high-voltage line between the Church substation in Millington, Md., and the Wye Mills substation in Wye Mills, Md. The project aims to enhance electric service reliability on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, especially for customers in Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Caroline counties, the company said in February.

Staff said its focus in the proceeding is “the reliability and stability of the electric system,” as it relates to Delmarva Power’s application.

After reviewing the application, Ralph DeGeeter, whose direct testimony was filed by staff in August, determined that “[t]he proposed project would resolve anticipated reliability criteria violations and avoid severe reactive power deficiencies along the southern Delmarva Peninsula as early as June 2015.”

He testified that “[d]elaying the building of the project increases the risk of infrastructure failures that would compromise the availability and reliability of transmission service for Maryland customers.”

PJM Interconnection’s “reliability analysis has indicated unacceptably low voltage magnitude, voltage drop and an inability to recover and operate the transmission system in the areas of Caroline, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties in the event the constraints are realized,” DeGeeter said.

In an effort to address the contingency violations, the company determined that the best solution was to build a new 138-kV line, as requested in the proceeding, staff said, noting that PJM agreed with Delmarva Power and PJM’s board of managers [and? Who?] approved the project with an in-service date that was modified from June 1, 2013, to June 1, 2015.

Staff also said it recommended approval of the application “contingent upon the conditions of the state agencies and the requirement that the applicant provides notice to the commission at least five business days prior to putting each portion of the project in service and of the completion date of the entire project.”

Neither the company nor PPRP objected to staff’s proposed conditions or cross-examined DeGeeter, staff said.

While the state Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) “attempted to cast doubt on the need for the proposed project, there was no evidence submitted by OPC or testimony elicited that altered either the company’s or staff’s positions,” staff said.

In the proceeding, the only evidence for the PSC to consider was submitted by Delmarva Power, PPRP and staff, all of which support approval of the proposed project, subject to the conditions proposed by PPRP and staff. Staff added, “There was no evidence to contradict any of the parties’ testimony and evidence; therefore, there is no basis upon which to deny [Delmarva Power’s] application.

Delmarva Power is a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings (NYSE:POM).

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3106 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.