An administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on July 12 granted American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) a waiver in relation to the company’s proposed Speidel–Barnesville 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
As noted in the ALJ’s filing, AEP Ohio Transco in March filed with the OPSB a pre-application notification letter for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the proposed Speidel–Barnesville 138-kV transmission line rebuild project in Warren Township, Belmont County, Ohio.
AEP Ohio Transco in late June filed an application with the OPSB for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the proposed project.
The project involves rebuilding and upgrading the existing 69-kV facilities built in the 1940s with 138-kV lines and structures that are somewhat taller and of sturdier construction, the ALJ noted.
According to the company, the rebuild project is needed to reinforce its transmission system to maintain and improve the quality and reliability of electric service in the area.
AEP Ohio Transco in June filed a motion seeking a waiver from certain Ohio Administrative Code, which defines the field survey area under the ecological rule to cover a field survey of the vegetation and surface waters within 100 feet of the potential disturbance area of the facility, the ALJ added.
AEP Ohio Transco said that that is a new requirement set forth in the rules that became effective last December, which was not in place when the company conducted similar, but not equivalent, field studies last year.
Due to those circumstances, the ALJ added, AEP Ohio Transco requested a waiver from the survey requirement, to the extent the study area under the new rules exceeds the area studied by the company.
The ALJ said that the company noted that it would perform additional field surveys in any affected portions of the preferred or alternate route, should a route change have an impact requiring further study into the disturbance area.
Staff on June 23 filed its response to the company’s request, noting that while it does not object to the request, it reserves the right to require information from the company in the site/route area covered by the requested waiver if staff determines it to be necessary during the course of the investigation, according to the ALJ.