Pennsylvania PUC seeks more information on PPL Electric Utilities’ proposed rebuild project

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) on Feb. 16 told PPL’s (NYSE:PPL) PPL Electric Utilities that its Jan. 6 letter of notification (LON) regarding the company’s proposal to rebuild about 10.6 miles of the Blooming Grove-Honesdale 138/69-kV line in Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania, is incomplete.

The PUC said in its letter that in order for it to complete its analysis of the application, the Energy Industry Group requires certain information from the company, including:

  • The company on Feb. 8 provided a correction to the application indicating that the correct PJM Interconnection project ID should be s0962. The proposed project does not match the details or cost information of any of the s0962.1-3 projects on the PJM website. The company was asked to provide a description of the project as submitted to the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee, or TEAC, and if the project is part of a larger project, to summarize the larger project of which the LON is a part
  • Provide a breakdown of project costs – the costs provided in the application does not match any of the costs associated with the s0962.1-3 projects. The company was asked to explain who will own, finance, and build the proposed project

The PUC said that the company is directed to forward the requested information to the PUC within 15 days of receipt of the letter, and that failure to respond may result in the application being denied.

A company spokesperson on Feb. 17 told TransmissionHub that PPL Electric Utilities will respond to the request for additional information.

According to the company’s Jan. 6 LON, the existing Blooming Grove-Honesdale 138/69-kV Line, which has been in service since 1973, has exceeded its useful life and must be rebuilt in order to continue to provide reliable service into the future. The existing conductors and wood monopole structures do not meet current design or height standards, the company said, adding that the existing line consists of 181 outdated guyed and un-guyed wood and steel poles with an average height of 80 feet.

The entire project is located within the existing right of way (ROW) in the City of Blooming Grove, Blooming Grove Township, and Palmyra Township in Pike County, Pa., and Palmyra Township in Wayne County, Pa., the company said.

The existing ROW is adjacent and parallel to the ROW corridor for the existing Susquehanna-Roseland 500-kV Transmission Line, the company said.

Subject to the PUC’s approval, construction is scheduled to begin in April to support the in-service date of May 2018, the company said.

The proposed project’s total estimated cost is $18.5m, the company said.

Discussing the existing system, the company noted that the existing Blooming Grove-Honesdale Line extends about 10.6 miles from the Blooming Grove substation located in the City of Blooming Grove to the Paupack-Honesdale Line located in Wayne County. From the Blooming Grove substation, the line extends about 6.4 miles to the Wallenpaupack Tap – this segment is currently operated as a double-circuit 69-kV line. From the Wallenpaupack Tap, the line extends about 2.7 miles to the Hawley Tap – this segment is currently operated as a single-circuit 69-kV line, the company added.

From the Hawley Tap, the line extends about 1.5 miles to the start of the Paupack-Honesdale Line – this segment is currently operated as a single-circuit 69-kV line.

The company said that it proposes to rebuild 6.4 miles of the line from the Blooming Grove substation to the Wallenpaupack Tap as a double-circuit 138/69-kV line, and the remaining 4.2 miles is proposed to be rebuilt as a single-circuit 138/69-kV line. The rebuilt line would initially operate as a 69-kV line until the load growth in the area makes it appropriate to increase the operating voltage, the company said.

The existing 181 structures would be removed and replaced with 126 new self-weathering steel monopoles that would range between 60 feet and 115 feet in height, with an average height of about 90 feet. The company also said that while the new structures would be located generally within the same vicinity as the existing tower structures, certain structure would be relocated in order to avoid constructability issues and environmental constraints. No new poles would be placed on any property that currently does not have an existing pole, the company said.

The proposed rebuild would bring the line into compliance with current design standards, and would increase the lightning protection of the line, as well as reduce the frequency of momentary outages experienced by customers, the company said.

The company said that land use impacts are anticipated to be minimal due to the fact that the project would be built entirely within the existing ROW and in close proximity to existing transmission facilities. The company also noted that the project area contains no national parks, state parks or local parks. While the project would traverse about 1.6 miles of State Game Lands, the project is not anticipated to have any adverse effect on the land use, or recreational usage of the State Game Lands due to location of the project within the existing ROW, the company said.

The project is located within one mile of four listed and five eligible cultural and archaeological resources, the company said, adding that it will coordinate with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to ensure that the project would have no adverse impacts to cultural and archaeological resources.

Among other things, the company said that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that the project would not impact any threatened and endangered species, or special concern species and resources located within the project area.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3229 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.