Virginia hearing examiner recommends approval of Dominion Virginia Power’s proposed rebuild project

A Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearing examiner, in a Sept. 28 report, recommended that the SCC issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power to build and operate the proposed relocation of an approximately 0.5-mile section of Line #2042 and associated transmission and distribution facilities.

As noted in the report, Dominion Virginia Power in late May filed with the SCC an application at the request of two customers, Vulcan Materials Company and Fairfax County Water Authority, for approval to relocate the approximately 0.5-mile section of the existing overhead 230-kV single circuit transmission line, Occoquan Substation–Ogden Martin Systems of Fairfax Inc., Line #2042, from existing rights of way (ROWs) located on three parcels of land owned by Vulcan and Fairfax Water to almost entirely new ROW on the same three parcels.

The proposed new ROW would be on two parcels owned by Vulcan, which contain the Graham Quarry, and one parcel owned by Fairfax Water, which contains its Griffith Water Treatment Plant. The proposed relocation of the line, the hearing examiner added in the report, would accommodate a phased quarry development plan for two future water reservoirs to meet the long-term water needs of the region, which was the subject of a recently approved Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

The company estimated that it would take five months to build the proposed relocation project, and estimated the total cost of that project to be about $3m, which would be paid by Vulcan.

SCC staff noted that Virginia jurisdictional retail ratepayers will not be impacted by the project, the hearing examiner added. Staff also noted that while the route proposed for the line rebuild does require new ROW, the route minimizes impacts on existing residences, scenic assets, historic districts and the environment.

The hearing examiner further noted that the case involves a routine request by the company to relocate a portion of an existing line, and that the case is complicated by the fact that an adjoining landowner is requesting that the SCC require the company to install an earthen berm noise/sound barrier at the terminus of the relocated route to prevent noise from the operation of the quarry from migrating up the relocated transmission line ROW to the landowner’s proposed residential subdivision.

The hearing examiner said that the adjoining landowner’s request is related to operations at the quarry property, which are subject to local government jurisdiction, and not the operation of any public utility facilities, which are subject to SCC jurisdiction.

Regarding scenic assets and historic districts, the hearing examiner said that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) made certain recommendations, including completion of a comprehensive archaeological and architectural survey by a qualified professional prior to construction of any SCC-approved alternative.

The hearing examiner said that he finds “that DHR’s recommendations are reasonable and necessary to ensure that the relocation project does not have an adverse impact on scenic assets or historic districts and should be made a condition of any certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the commission.”

Among other things, the hearing examiner said that the SCC should condition approval of the company’s application based on the company’s agreement to comply with the recommendations provided by the state Department of Environmental Quality, its agreement to obtain all necessary environmental permits and approvals needed to build and operate the relocation project, and its agreement to coordinate with federal and state agencies, as appropriate.

Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D). 

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 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.