The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Dec. 21 said that it has granted a certificate of public convenience to Transource Pennsylvania, LLC to permit the company to begin furnishing and supplying electric transmission service within two corridors located in Franklin and York counties in Pennsylvania.
The commission order approves a settlement among the parties to give Transource public utility status, but does not constitute approval of any project in the service area, the commission said.
As TransmissionHub reported, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) and Transource PA on July 10 filed with the commission a joint petition for stipulation and settlement of all issues regarding Transource PA’s application to begin supplying electric transmission service in Franklin and York counties in Pennsylvania.
The commission on Dec. 21 said that its order, approved by a 5-0 vote, requires Transource to obtain necessary permits and approvals for any specific projects from state, federal, and local government agencies having jurisdiction. In addition, the order preserves the right of parties to challenge the need for, and siting of, any future transmission project applications that Transource may submit to the commission.
The commission added that as noted in its fact sheet on transmission line siting, a public utility must first obtain the commission’s approval before it can build aerial high-voltage transmission lines with a design voltage greater than 100,000 volts.
Before beginning any transmission line construction project, Transource must file an application with the commission that includes the proposal’s costs, a proposed route, and alternative routes. The commission added that the application must also include information about other factors, such as the environmental impacts; existing land use; as well as impacts on scenic, historic and archeological sites. Information pertaining to the affected landowners, safety considerations and a statement of need must also be included in the application, the commission said.
As noted in a Dec. 21 motion of Commissioner David Sweet, Transource PA is a wholly owned direct subsidiary of Transource Energy, LLC, and was formed to build, own, operate, and maintain electric transmission facilities and equipment in Pennsylvania.
Prior to filing the application for a certificate of public convenience, Transource Energy bid on, and won, the right to carry out its proposal to reduce congestion across the Pennsylvania and Maryland border with a proposal to PJM Interconnection. According to the application, the winning proposal was chosen as the project that provided the highest benefit-to-cost ratio and the greatest total congestion savings.
The motion added that the company’s Independence Project is expected to save customers about $620m over a 15-year period in congestion costs. Transource is bound to complete the project by June 1, 2020, the motion said.
Sweet said that by his motion he seeks to affirm the initial decision of Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes, with certain amendments.
For instance, ordering paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b) are to be amended to read that the certificate is to allow the company to:
- Begin to furnish and supply electric transmission service to or for the public within a transmission service area from the new Rice substation in Franklin County, Pa., to the Pennsylvania/Maryland border
- Begin to furnish and supply electric transmission service to or for the public within a transmission service area from the new Furnace Run substation in York County, Pa., to the Pennsylvania/Maryland border
As TransmissionHub reported, the ALJ, in an initial decision dated Aug. 31, granted Transource PA’s application seeking approval to begin to furnish and supply electric transmission service in Franklin and York counties in Pennsylvania.
Transource PA is responsible for the Pennsylvania portion of the Independence Energy Connection Project, which includes two new electric substations in Pennsylvania and two new 230-kV interstate transmission lines between Maryland and Pennsylvania identified by PJM as Project 9A or Independence Project, the initial decision said.