Maryland PSC staff recommends approval, with conditions, of part of Delmarva Power’s proposed rebuild project

Delmarva Power’s proposed project involving rebuilding part of a 138-kV transmission line would resolve anticipated reliability criteria violations and mitigate potential thermal overloads that could affect the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system, according to Maryland regulatory staff.

Ralph De Geeter, a transmission and generation engineer in the state Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Division of Engineering, in Jan. 17 testimony on behalf of PSC staff, recommended that the PSC issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for “Section 1” of the project, contingent upon certain conditions of state agencies. Staff also conditioned approval upon the company providing notice to the PSC at least five business days before putting each portion of the project in service and of the completion date of the entire project.

As TransmissionHub reported, Delmarva Power filed in April 2013 an application for a CPCN to rebuild the Maryland portion of the 5.25-mile line beginning at the company’s Glasgow substation in New Castle County, Del., to its Cecil substation in Cecil County, Md., all within existing right-of-way (ROW).

The company referred to the portion of the line from the Maryland/Delaware state line to the Cecil substation as the “entire Maryland project.”

The project is included in the PJM Interconnection regional transmission expansion plan (RTEP) and was designated for construction by Delmarva Power with an in-service date of June 1, 2015, De Geeter said.

“Timely completion of the project requires careful scheduling so that each construction phase of the project is coordinated with the required transmission outages to connect the facilities,” De Geeter said. “The need to coordinate both the transmission system outage dates and the final in-service date requires timely approval of the application. Delaying the building of the project increases the risk of reliability criteria violations that could disrupt the transfer of power from generation sources in Cecil and Harford Counties, Maryland and sources to the north and west, into the Delmarva Peninsula.”

Section 1 of the project refers to the 2.05 miles of the project that run from the Maryland/Delaware state line to the Amtrak railroad in Cecil County, De Geeter said. Of the 5.25 miles of the project’s length, 4.45 miles will be located in Cecil County, he noted.

De Geeter also said that the PJM 2010 RTEP identified an anticipated violation of PJM N-1-1 planning criteria under which an unacceptable thermal overload on 230-kV lines from generating sources in Cecil and Harford counties, and points north and west of the Delmarva Peninsula. The project is PJM’s recommended solution to address the Delmarva Power thermal violation by upgrading the existing 138-kV line between the Glasgow and Cecil County substations.

If the identified contingencies were to occur, the consequences could lead to customer interruptions, most likely in Cecil and Harford counties, he added.

While the 2013 RTEP process reflected a reduced load forecast, it reaffirmed the need for the project by June 1, 2015, as identified in the 2010 RTEP process, he added.

As for the economic impact to customers of the project, De Geeter said that PJM has indicated the load in the Delmarva Power transmission zone is responsible for all costs associated with the project and project costs will become a part of the company’s FERC-regulated transmission rate base.

Based on the estimated $5.7m overall project cost, the first year annual charge or annual revenue requirement attributable to the entire project will be about $1.2m.

The Maryland revenue requirement would be about $399,468, or about 9 cents per MWh effective June 1, 2015, the first full year of service. As a point of reference, De Geeter added, the current Maryland Delmarva Power standard offer service rate is about 9 cents per kWh. The project would have a minimal impact on customer retail rates as proposed.

Among other things, he said that should the project obtain a CPCN in the timeframe requested in accordance with the proposed procedural schedule in the proceeding and subsequent PSC approval, construction would begin in September.

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

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2850 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 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.