The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) has found deficiencies in Central Hudson Gas & Electric’s Oct. 11 documents related to its application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Article VII of the Public Service Law for the A and C Line Rebuild Project.
According to the state Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Nov. 22 notice inviting comments on the application, the project involves replacement of about 10.85 miles of 115-kV transmission lines along existing rights-of-way in the towns of Pleasant Valley, LaGrange, Wappinger and East Fishkill in Dutchess County, N.Y.
Comments must be filed with the PSC by Jan. 13, 2014 (Case 13-T-0469).
In its application, the company requests waiver or partial waiver of certain regulations governing the content of Article VII applications, including a provision that allows the use of topographical maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey instead of state Department of Transportation maps to show the relationship of the proposed facility to other components of the company’s electrical system.
The DPS told the company on Nov. 27 that the deficiencies include that the company did not provide information on where construction would require clearing or changes to topography in that the application does not specifically identify areas needing grading or fill, nor does it state whether permanent changes are desired.
Also, the documents do not comply with certain requirements that the applicant include the schedule and planned method for clearing the right-of-way, in that the application does not describe “danger tree removal” and disposal methods or access road clearing methods.
The DPS also included requests for additional information, noting that while not necessarily required by the PSC’s regulations, the provision of the requested information will facilitate the review process.
For instance, the application states that following construction, disturbed areas will be restored to preconstruction conditions. The DPS asked whether that means the grading/fill/improvements for access routes will be restored to preconstruction conditions and will not be left in place for future access.
Also, the company was asked to provide the protocol followed for the development of the invasive species survey. Noting that no information is supplied on easement rights and limits for the project, the DPS asked the company to provide property rights information, or plans to get rights, to support all project needs for construction.
According to the company’s Oct. 11 application, the company is proposing to rebuild the existing 115-kV A and C transmission lines located between Pleasant Valley and East Fishkill in Dutchess County. The project is located within an existing 150-foot-wide right-of-way (ROW), which has been held by Central Hudson and used for transmission purposes since 1948.
The existing transmission corridor includes the existing A and C lines, which are currently carried on H-frame wood pole structures with an average height of 51 feet. The project will be built within existing Central Hudson ROW or ROW shared by Central Hudson and Consolidated Edison’s (NYSE:ED) Consolidated Edison Company of New York.
Central Hudson also said that it will comply with all applicable state, federal and local laws, ordinances and policies addressing construction, operation and maintenance impacts of the proposed electric transmission system on the environment.
Field evaluations, existing data review and agency consultations were conducted to identify, quantify and describe existing environmental conditions within the project area, the company said, adding that consultations with local municipalities, the PSC and other agencies were also conducted.
In discussing the need for the project, Central Hudson said that the 115-kV Pleasant Valley to Todd Hill Road C line and the 115-kV Todd Hill Road to Fishkill Plains A line were built in 1948, and currently, the poles and conductors are in disrepair.
The lines have been identified as part of Central Hudson’s ACSR (conductor) replacement program.
Additionally, about 60 structures have spar arms instead of traditional crossarms, which have the potential to fail catastrophically without warning.
The proposed plan, the company added, is to replace most of the structures and conductors along the existing ROW. There are 123 structures with 262 existing poles within the project site and 112 structures and 139 poles are proposed for the project.
Among other things, the company said that the existing structures are primary wood H-frame pole structures with an average height of 51 feet, adding that the replacement poles are anticipated to be single pole self-weathering steel structures with an average above-ground height of 64 feet.
Central Hudson’s holding company is CH Energy Group (NYSE:CHG).