An Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) administrative law judge (ALJ), in a Nov. 8 order, granted AEP Ohio Transmission Company’s (AEP Ohio Transco) Nov. 7 motion for extension regarding the company’s Macksburg-Devola 138-kV Transmission Line Project.
As TransmissionHub reported, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio staff, in a Sept. 22 report of investigation filed with the OPSB, recommended that the OPSB find that the basis of need for the proposed project has been demonstrated and therefore complies with certain requirements, provided that any certificate issued by the OPSB include certain conditions.
As noted by staff, AEP Ohio Transco has proposed to own, build, operate, and maintain the proposed project in Washington County, Ohio.
The new overhead line would connect the proposed Macksburg and Devola substations, staff said, adding that the company proposes a 100-foot right of way (ROW) for the new line.
The preferred route, which is about 15.5 miles long, begins in the northern part of Washington County at the proposed Macksburg substation and winds south about three miles in parallel with Interstate 77. The route crosses over Interstate 77, immediately merges into the “common route” and crosses back over Interstate 77 for a distance of about two miles, staff added.
The route then separates as the preferred route and continues along the west side of Interstate 77 for about three miles. The route then splits into two branches northwest of the intersection of Washington County Road 8 and Washington County Road 316, staff added.
The western branch of the preferred route continues southwest about 1.9 miles before turning to the northwest and connecting to the proposed Buell substation. Staff also said that the eastern branch runs south, parallel to Interstate 77, for about 1.2 miles before crossing over to the east side of Interstate 77. Then, the route continues south for about 2.1 miles where it connects to the existing Highland Ridge substation. The route continues from there, crossing back over to the west side of Interstate 77 and continuing south for about 3.1 miles, where it terminates at the proposed Devola substation.
The proposed facility is part of a broader program to modernize the southeast Ohio transmission and distribution network, staff added, noting that the program is intended to enhance the reliability of the region’s aging 23-kV distribution system by adding many new transmission elements and ultimately providing a looped 138-kV transmission system in southeast Ohio.
As noted in the ALJ’s Nov. 8 order, AEP Ohio Transco on Nov. 7 filed the motion by which it seeks a modification of the procedural schedule, along with a request for an expedited ruling on that motion. The purpose of the modification being requested would be to allow the parties to continue settlement negotiations.
The ALJ added that according to the company, all parties have been contacted regarding the Nov. 7 motion and the request for an expedited ruling on that motion, with no party opposing either the motion or the request for immediate ruling.
In support of its motion for extension, the company states that, since the completion of a Nov. 1 local public hearing, the parties have been actively engaged in settlement negotiations that may resolve one or all dispute issues between staff and AEP Ohio Transco, the only parties in the case.
The ALJ also noted that in order to facilitate continued settlement discussions and explore whether a partial or complete settlement may be reached, the company requests that the currently scheduled Nov. 16 evidentiary hearing should remain in place, but that the deadlines for submission of testimony be modified in such a way as to make Nov. 15 the deadline for the filing of all testimony by all parties.
The ALJ said that good cause exists, and that that portion of the Nov. 7 motion for extension should be granted.
The company also requests that, in the event that a partial or complete stipulation and recommendation is filed by two or more parties before Nov. 15, the ALJ is to further modify the procedural schedule at that time, in order to accommodate the preparation of testimony in support of the stipulation, possible preparation of testimony in opposition to the stipulation, and the parties’ preparation for hearing.
The ALJ added that good reason exists to grant that portion of the motion for extension as well.
If a partial or complete stipulation is filed before Nov. 15, the ALJ said that the ALJ intends to modify the procedural schedule once again, at that time, in the manner and for the purposes described in the company’s Nov. 7 motion for extension.