A local public hearing regarding the Rouse-Bell Ridge 138-kV Transmission Line Project proposed by American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) will be held on June 7 in New Matamoras, Ohio, an Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) administrative law judge (ALJ) said on April 12.
As noted in the filing, AEP Ohio Transco in January filed its application with the OPSB for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the project, which is located in southern Monroe County and northeastern Washington County, about 10 miles northeast of Marietta, Ohio.
The preferred route is about 12.7 miles long, and the company estimates that the project would be complete during fall 2020, the ALJ said.
As TransmissionHub reported, the company said in its application that it plans to build the new line from the proposed Rouse substation southwest to the proposed Bell Ridge substation in Monroe County and Washington County in Ohio.
Discussing the need for the proposed facility, the company noted that it, Ohio Power Company, Buckeye Power, and Washington Electric Cooperative have agreed to implement a long-term plan aimed at enhancing the reliability of the southeast Ohio area electric transmission and distribution network. That infrastructure has reached an age where it is in need of rebuild and redesign to meet the needs of the customers across that region, the company said.
The companies have developed a multi-year construction plan that would replace much of the transmission and distribution infrastructure in place today.
The focus of the overall program, AEP Ohio Transco added, is to rebuild the area’s aged 23-kV infrastructure into a 138-kV network and redesign the system to improve reliability for customers across the region. Ultimately, the series of improvements and investment in the area would provide a looped transmission system from the proposed Lamping to Devola 138-kV substations, the company said.
Discussing the purpose of the proposed Rouse-Bell Ridge project, the company noted that the project would be the fourth segment of the overall transmission line program and would provide two-way transmission service to the Washington Co-op-owned Rouse and Bell Ridge substations, as well as facilitate a strong 138-kV source to AEP’s future Devola substation, sourced from the Lamping 345/138-kV station to the east.
The purpose of the project is to provide additional transmission service to the counties and to improve electric service reliability in the southeastern Ohio area. Much of the area is served by an extensive 23-kV distribution system, which would be retired and replaced with a new 138-kV transmission system, the company added.
The benefits of the project include supporting economic development and potential shale gas investment in the area, faster recovery of service after outages, fewer service interruptions, and overall improved service, the company said.
The proposed project begins about 4.2 miles south of Graysville, Ohio, at the proposed site of the proposed Rouse substation site, located south of the intersection of Pleasant Ridge Road and State Route 26, the company said.
The proposed project terminates about 4.5 miles southwest of Wingett Run, Ohio, at the proposed site of the Bell Ridge substation, located about 0.2 mile northeast of the intersection of State Route 26 and Bear Run Road.
In the April 12 filing, the ALJ said that an evidentiary hearing is to begin on June 28 at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s offices in Columbus, Ohio. The OPSB will accept petitions to intervene in the proceeding up to May 31, the ALJ said.