Virginia SCC schedules proceedings for AEP subsidiary’s 138-kV extension project

A Virginia hearing examiner with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) has scheduled proceedings in September and October for an estimated $30m transmission project proposed by an American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) utility.

Hearing Examiner Howard Anderson Jr., said in a July 12 order that he will stick with a previously-scheduled Sept. 7 hearing to receive testimony from public witnesses on the project planned by Appalachian Power Company (APCo). A public evidentiary hearing on the application will then be held on Oct. 26 in Richmond.

APCo has asked for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build and operate an extension of almost four miles to a 138-kV transmission line in the southwestern corner of Virginia near the Tennessee line.

In an application filed with the SCC earlier this year, APCo said that the South Abingdon 138 kV Extension Transmission Line Project consists of construction of 3.8 miles of new transmission line on new right of way (ROW). The line will be located between a tap point on the company’s existing Saltville-Kingsport 138-kV transmission line and about one-third of a mile from the company’s existing Abingdon substation.

A new South Abingdon Substation to be constructed on Vances Mill Road in Washington County; and associated improvements to be made at three existing substations in the Abingdon area, including buswork, switches, and related equipment.

APCo estimates the project will cost about $30m, and the utility will need roughly 12 months after entry of the SCC’s final order for engineering, design, ROW acquisition, permitting, material procurement, and construction to place the project in service.

The company is proposing an in-service date of Dec. 1, 2017, and has requested expedited consideration to the extent permitted by law.

The AEP utility says the project will maintain reliability for APCo’s customers in the southern part of the Town of Abingdon and the adjacent areas of Washington County. The company cites increased development in the area along with the “extremely low temperatures” recorded in two of the last three winters.

The company states that the proposed line will be a double circuit three-phase design with a nominal phase-to-phase voltage of 138 kV. APCo anticipates primarily using 138-kV double circuit steel monopoles with davit arms in connection with the construction of the project. The approximate heights of the monopole structures are anticipated to range from 80 to 125 feet.

The company states that H-frame structures may be necessary to lower the overall height of the line where it runs in close proximity to the Virginia Highlands Airport. The height of the H-frame structures is anticipated to range from 60 to 80 feet, and may be required to be marked or lit depending on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommendations.

A total of about 42 transmission line structures are expected to be associated with the project, according to the utility.

The company proposes to build the project within a 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. This gives the company leeway to address issues that become evident only during late stages of development. APCo said the ROW might need to be expanded to 125 feet in one limited area near the airport.

The SCC may consider a route “not significantly different” from the route described in the July 12 notice without additional notice to the public.

The case number in the matter is PUE-2016-00011.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3150 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.