SCE&G, S.C. regulatory staff seek expedited review of transmission project

South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) – referred to as the parties – on Sept. 12 filed with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina a joint motion asking that the commission perform an expedited review regarding the company’s proposed Pepperhill-Summerville 230-kV Line, Williams-Pepperhill 230-kV Line Segment, Canadys-Faber Place 230-kV Line Segment, and associated facilities.

As noted in the filing, SCE&G seeks a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity to build and operate the lines in Berkeley and Charleston counties in South Carolina. The company also requests that the commission make a determination that the rebuild of the existing Summerville-Williams 230-kV Line between Summerville and Ladson Junction constitutes “the replacement of an existing facility with a like facility” and therefore does not constitute “construction of a major utility facility” for which certification would be required under the Utility Facility Siting Act and Environmental Protection Act.

The parties on Aug. 28 filed a stipulation, agreeing that:

  • ORS will recommend that the commission approve SCE&G’s application and grant the company a certificate for the Pepperhill-Summerville 230-kV Line, the Williams-Pepperhill 230-kV Line Segment, the Canadys-Faber Place 230-kV Line Segment and associated facilities
  • ORS has no objection to, and will not oppose, SCE&G’s request for the like facility determination
  • SCE&G agrees to follow all South Carolina, commission, and local government regulations and laws arising from matters set forth in the application
  • SCE&G will notify ORS and the commission when the facilities begin commercial operation and of any changes to the planned commercial operation dates

The parties added that South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Sept. 10 issued an executive order that ordered the closure of all state government offices for all non-essential personnel in Richland County, where ORS is headquartered, and Lexington County, where the commission is located, to support Hurricane Florence evacuation operations. By the order, the closure of state government offices began Sept. 11 and is scheduled to run for the period of the evacuation, the parties said.

The commission’s standing hearing officer on Sept. 11 informed the parties that a hearing scheduled for Sept. 12 was cancelled as a result of the hurricane evacuations and the closure of state government offices.
The parties added that SCE&G is scheduled to begin construction of the lines in early April 2019, with such prep work as laying out mats beginning as early as mid-February 2019.

To support that schedule, SCE&G desires to begin purchasing materials as early as October, and the company desires an order from the commission granting the certificates, as well as the like facility determination, prior to purchasing the materials, the parties said.

The parties noted that they seek expedited review of the application on the grounds that:

  • The S.C. Administrative Procedures Act grants the commission flexibility regarding hearings in contested matters
  • Notice and the opportunity to present written evidence is sufficient to provide procedural due process protection
  • Due process requirements are satisfied if the parties waive the right to a hearing when there is no disputed material issue of fact

The parties also noted that no other parties have intervened in the docket or filed comments or testimony in the docket. The other parties of record, including the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, have indicated to ORS that they have no concerns with the application, the parties said, adding that as such, the parties request that the commission dispose of the proceeding without requiring a formal hearing.

As TransmissionHub reported, according to the company’s June 14 application filed with the commission:

  • The Pepperhill-Summerville line would be 7.8 miles long and extend from SCE&G’s existing Pepperhill 230/115-kV substation in North Charleston, S.C., to the company’s existing Summerville 230/115-kV substation near Summerville, S.C.
  • The Williams-Pepperhill line segment would be 3.64 miles long and extend from existing right of way (ROW) about 400 feet south of Ancrum Road to SCE&G’s Pepperhill substation
  • The Canadys-Faber Place line segment would be about 350 feet long

Discussing the project’s need, SCE&G said that its recent transmission planning power flow studies have identified a possible future single contingency occurrence in the southern region of its service area, i.e., an outage on the Summerville substation’s 230-kV #2 Bus, that would result in outages on a 230/115-kV transformer at the Summerville substation, the loss of service on two 230-kV lines, and heavy loading/overloading on other electrical equipment, as well as constitute violations of NERC Transmission Planning Standards and SCE&G’s long-range planning criteria as early as May 2020.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3067 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.