Arkansas regulators close docket involving 23-mile transmission line

The Arkansas Public Service Commission, in a Nov. 16 order, said that there being no further action to be taken at this time in the matter involving a new 23-mile, 69-kV transmission line, the commission secretary is directed to close Docket No. 17-075-U.

The last action taken on the matter – or the last filing posted under the docket on the commission’s website – was an April 5 order signed by an administrative law judge (ALJ) granting to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) a CCN authorizing it to build, own, operate, and maintain the new line in Monroe and Lee counties in Arkansas for the delivery of wholesale power and energy to Woodruff Electric Cooperative Corporation.

As noted in that April order, AECC in December 2017 filed with the commission an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) requesting authority to build, own, and operate the new line.

In direct testimony, an AECC witness said that the line is a reliability project that will provide wholesale power and energy to Woodruff. The line will complete a 69-kV transmission loop extending from AECC’s Keevil to Holly Grove to Monroe substations. The April order added that the witness continued by stating that when the line is completed, the transmission loop will provide Woodruff with enhanced reliability for those retail consumers served out of the Holly Grove and Monroe substations.

The witness also noted that Woodruff plans to build a new substation near Palmer, Ark., at some time in the future. The April order added that according to the witness, the new line will provide an excellent source for that substation.

According to another AECC witness, the estimated cost of the new line is $15m, and the preferred route is generally configured to run along roadways and edges of fields in an attempt to facilitate construction, as well as future maintenance. The preferred route also attempts to minimize impacts to wetland areas by spanning wetlands and/or crossing wetlands alongside roadways since those areas have been previously disturbed.

The April order also noted that a regulatory staff witness said, for instance, that AECC’s request for a 500’ variance to accommodate landowner requests is reasonable, provided that the variance is used only to accommodate legitimate concerns and objections of property owners whose land is being traversed and that any deviation or adjustments do not adversely affect other lands that were not depicted as being traversed in the initial or amended routing maps, do not involve a significant cost increase, and do not prevent AECC from conforming the location of the transmission line as closely as possible to existing land uses and property lines.

The staff witness said that the new line is needed and in the public interest.

The April order also noted that no objections have been filed or received by the commission from property owners in the vicinity, governmental agencies, or persons in general to the construction or the location of the line, other than those previously discussed.

AECC has demonstrated a reasonable need for the line – that being to provide higher reliability transmission service to the Holly Grove and Monroe substations because each substation will be afforded two transmission sources, allowing for alternate transmission service during contingency events as well as planned maintenance of the line, the April order said.

Among other things, that order also noted that the line is scheduled to be completed by March 1, 2020.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 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.