Virginia SCC staff seeks suspension of procedural schedule involving APCo 138-kV project

Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) staff on Oct. 11 submitted a motion to the SCC requesting that the procedural schedule involving Appalachian Power Company’s (APCo) South Abingdon 138 kV Extension Transmission Line Project be suspended pending a determination from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

As noted in the motion, the company in March filed with the SCC its application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to build, own, operate and maintain the project, which consists of building a new 138-kV transmission line on new right of way (ROW) about 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 – and a new South Abingdon substation to be built on Vances Mill Road in Washington County.

The project also involves associated improvements to be made at three existing substations in the Abingdon area, including buswork, switches and related equipment, staff said.

A hearing examiner on Sept. 6 entered a ruling, extending the procedural schedule, staff noted, adding that under the ruling, staff’s report on the project is due on Oct. 21, and an evidentiary hearing is scheduled to begin on Nov. 17.

Staff said that the company has informed it that the project will not proceed until the FAA has reviewed the final line design and made a favorable “determination of no hazard to air navigation.”

After discussions with the company, it is staff’s understanding that the company has submitted a proposal with preliminary structure locations to the FAA, and a determination by the FAA is anticipated sometime in the first half of 2017.

Staff added that since respondents in the proceeding have indicated that the FAA determination could have an adverse impact on the Virginia Highlands Airport, and since the SCC has a statutory obligation to consider the effect of any proposed transmission line on economic development, it would be premature for the staff to make any recommendation to the SCC before the FAA issues its determination on the project.

Staff said that it proposes the following for the resumption of the procedural schedule:

  • Following release of the FAA determination, the company will make a supplementary filing, which will include a discussion of the impact of the determination on the project, including any proposed project revisions
  • Respondents will file any supplementary direct testimony responding to the company’s supplementary filing within two weeks of such filing
  • Staff will file its report within four weeks after the company’s supplementary filing
  • The company will file its rebuttal testimony two weeks after staff files its report
  • The evidentiary hearing will be scheduled on a date amenable to the parties and the hearing examiner, about eight weeks after the company files its supplementary filing

Staff said that it has consulted with the company prior to filing the motion, and is authorized to represent that the company does not oppose the requested relief.

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

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3151 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.