Public hearing scheduled for June 27 on APCo’s proposed South Abingdon 138-kV Extension Transmission Line Project

A local public hearing is to be held on June 27 in Abingdon, Va., in relation to Appalachian Power Company’s (APCo) proposed South Abingdon 138-kV Extension Transmission Line Project in Washington County and the Town of Abingdon, the Virginia State Corporation Commission said on April 5.

As noted in the SCC’s order for notice and hearing, APCo on March 7 filed an application with the SCC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build, own, operate and maintain the project.

According to the company, the project consists of the construction of a new 138-kV transmission line on new right of way (ROW), approximately 3.8 miles long between a tap point on the company’s existing Saltville–Kingsport 138-kV transmission line – about one-third of a mile southwest of the company’s existing Abingdon substation; a new South Abingdon substation to be built on Vances Mill Road in Washington County; and associated improvements to be made at three existing substations in the Abingdon area.

APCo estimates that the project will cost about $30m, and proposes an in-service date of Dec. 1, 2017.

The SCC further noted that according to the company, the project will maintain reliability for its customers in the southern part of the Town of Abingdon and the adjacent areas of Washington County in light of existing and projected load growth due to recent and planned residential, business/commercial and medical development in the project area, as well as the significant increase in winter peak load experienced in the project area due to the extremely low temperatures of the winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

APCo said in its application that the 3.8-mile preferred route for the project will require new ROW easements. The SCC added that the company proposes to build the project within the 100-foot ROW to be located within a 500-foot corridor in order to have the flexibility to shift the centerline of the 100-foot ROW of the transmission line up to 200 feet in either direction from the centerline shown in the application to address issues that become evident only after completion of final engineering, ground surveys and interview of landowners. The company said that the ROW may need to be expanded to 125 feet in one limited area near the Virginia Highlands Airport, and that the corridor width may need to be expanded to about 1,100 feet in two limited areas that require greater flexibility.

The SCC also said in its order that the company is to publish – by May 3, in two successive weeks – a notice about the project as display advertising in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in every county or municipality through which the proposed project is proposed to be built.

According to that notice, the proposed route begins at APCo’s existing Saltville–Kingsport line and connects to that existing line at a tap point to be located between existing structures No. 87 and 88, located in Washington County, about 0.25 mile southwest of US Route 19/Alternative 58 and about 0.5 miles north of the Town of Abingdon.

The proposed route starts southeast for 0.25 mile, turns southwestward for 0.3 mile across an open field, and spans Woodland Hills Road, about 0.2 mile east of Abingdon Elementary School. The notice added that the route continues southward, crosses Wyndale Road, runs adjacent to the Town of Abingdon boundary through mostly pasture fields for 0.6 mile, and enters the Town of Abingdon just southeast of the Washington County Fairgrounds. Turning southeastward, the route continues adjacent to Pioneer Chevrolet, crosses US Route 11/Main Street, spans Old Jonesboro Road about 0.5 mile west of the Virginia Highlands Community College, spans I-81 just east of Exit 14, continues across a wooded area, and exits the Town of Abingdon after 1.2 miles.

The proposed route re-enters Washington County, turns eastward for 0.75 mile crossing an open field and spanning Stone Mill Road. The notice also said that turning southward, the route runs adjacent to the western boundary of the Abingdon Quarry property for about 0.2 mile, turns eastward and parallel to Vances Mill Road for 0.4 mile, turns southward, spans Vances Mill Road, and enters the proposed South Abingdon substation, located at 21488 Vances Mill Road. The notice added that all distances and directions are approximate.

The SCC said that staff is file testimony and exhibits by July 21 with the SCC clerk. Also, the company is to file by Aug. 16 any rebuttal testimony and exhibits, among other things, with the clerk. The SCC further noted that written comments on the application are due to the clerk by Aug. 30.

Among other things, the SCC said that a public evidentiary hearing on the application is to be held on Sept. 7 at the SCC’s second floor courtroom in Richmond, Va., to receive the testimony of public witnesses as well as the evidence of the company, any respondents and staff.

APCo is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3059 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.