Arkansas ALJ order: SWEPCO granted approval to build switching station

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) is granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) to build, operate, and maintain a new transmission switching station adjacent to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation’s (AECC) existing East Fayetteville substation, located in Washington County, Ark., according to an order signed on Dec. 7 by an Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) administrative law judge.

As noted in the order, SWEPCO filed the application for the CCN in September; there will also be minor adjustments to SWEPCO’s existing 161-kV transmission lines to interconnect to the proposed East Fayetteville switching station.

The order added that APSC staff in November recommended that the application be granted, finding that the proposed facilities are needed and in the public interest, and that the seven factors considered by the APSC in determining whether the route or location is reasonable were adequately addressed.

No parties, other than AECC, have requested to intervene in the docket, and no public comments have been filed as of the date of the order’s filing.

According to SWEPCO, the order added, pending APSC approval, construction is expected to begin in January 2017, with a permanent in-service date of October 2017. The total estimated cost for the proposed facilities is about $7.2m.

The order also said that SWEPCO’s request for a CCN to modify its transmission service to AECC’s East Fayetteville substation is a result of AECC’s expansion of the substation as part of an effort to convert a portion of Ozarks Electric Cooperative Corporation’s 69-kV system to a 161-kV system. AECC’s expansion will eliminate the current transmission configuration and interconnection between AECC’s East Fayetteville substation and SWEPCO’s Dyess to Hyland 161-kV Transmission Line and requires a new configuration and interconnection. The order further noted that AECC’s and Ozarks’ expansion and modifications of facilities do not require a CCN.

The proposed facilities include a 161-kV, 3,000 ampere, three-breaker switching station with two box bays to serve AECC with two 161-kV feeds. SWEPCO’s existing Dyess to Hyland 161-kV line will be modified to interconnect with its proposed East Fayetteville switching station.

The order added that the modification to the existing transmission line will be the addition of two new turning structures as well as about 50 feet of new transmission line. AECC currently owns the property where the proposed facilities are to be built, the order said, adding that upon APSC approval of SWEPCO’s application, SWEPCO will purchase about 1.27 acres from AECC, which is sufficient for the proposed facilities. At that point, the proposed facilities would be built on property owned by SWEPCO, the order said.

The primary drivers behind AECC’s request to SWEPCO to build the proposed facilities are load growth and the need to maintain switching capabilities, the order stated, noting that AECC provides wholesale service at 69-kV to Ozarks, which owns and maintains transmission to other substations throughout its service area.

AECC also has generation facilities located at Elkins, which provide wholesale generation at 69-kV, the order said, adding that the proposed facilities will allow AECC to provide, and Ozarks to operate its East Fayetteville to Elkins Transmission Line at 161-kV.

The Ozarks line is built to 161-kV standards, but has been operated at 69-kV since its construction, and by operating the East Fayetteville to Elkins Transmission Line at 161-kV, the wholesale capacity provided to two Ozarks’ substations served by that line would be removed from Ozarks’ 69-kV transmission system, presently served through AECC’s East Fayetteville substation, freeing up that amount of capacity from AECC’s 161-kV to 69-kV transformers at the East Fayetteville substation.

Among other things, the order noted that there are no engineering or technical concerns associated with the project; the location of the proposed facilities and its design will minimize the aesthetic displeasure of the construction; and the proposed facilities will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. 

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3016 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.