Utah board schedules hearings in May for RMP upgrade project

The Utility Facility Review Board of Utah will hold hearings in May on Rocky Mountain Power’s (RMP) plan to upgrade the utility’s Evanston to Silver Creek transmission line after the Wasatch County Board of Adjustments denied a permit for RMP to construct a small portion of the project that would be within Wasatch County.

The Utility Facility Review Board, made up of the three members of the Utah Public Service Commission and two members appointed by the governor, convened an initial hearing March 23 to consider the case and decide whether to pursue a formal or informal adjudicative proceeding, according to a March 24 ruling. At that initial hearing, the parties agreed that the case should be conducted as a formal adjudicative proceeding, the board said.

As TransmissionHub reported, RMP in February petitioned the PSC to convene the Utility Facility Review Board after Wasatch County denied a conditional use permit for RMP to build a small portion of the 138-kV project that would be within Wasatch County. The county denied the permit for a quarter-mile segment of the $49m, 74-mile project within Wasatch County, where land use ordinances require the utility to obtain a conditional use permit prior to construction.

The Evanston to Silver Creek project would extend from the Railroad substation near Evanston, Wyo., to the Silver Creek substation near Park City, Utah, and construction of the northern part of the project has been completed, RMP has noted. The project would upgrade an existing line to improve reliability and operational flexibility in the area, with construction scheduled to be complete in 2017, RMP said.

In its petition to the PSC, the utility said that the Wasatch County segment is a required component of the overall project. RMP also said that the Utility Facility Review Board should determine that the Wasatch County segment should be built, and that it direct the county to issue the permit.

The March 24 decision from the board set the hearing schedule and deadlines for legal briefs and written testimony to be filed, which includes a public witness hearing on May 2 to be held in Wasatch County at a location to be determined and noticed at a later date.

A subsequent evidentiary hearing and a deliberation hearing are scheduled for May 10 in Salt Lake City. If the evidentiary hearing does not conclude on May 10, the deliberation hearing will be noticed for a later time, the board said.

The Utility Facility Review Board includes the three PSC members and two members appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert. Those appointees are Beth Holbrook, representing the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and David Wilson, representing the Utah Association of Counties.