The Virginia State Corporation Commission, in a Dec. 27, 2018 order, said that a public hearing on Appalachian Power Company’s (APCo) petition for approval of a three-year Electric Distribution Grid Transformation Plan (GT Plan) will convene on April 23 in the commission’s second floor courtroom in Richmond, Va., to receive the testimony of public witnesses and the evidence of the company, any respondents, and regulatory staff.
As noted in the order, APCo on Dec. 14, 2018, filed with the commission its petition regarding the GT Plan, which includes “measures to facilitate integration of distributed energy resources and measures to enhance physical electric distribution grid reliability and security.”
The estimated total proposed investment associated with APCo’s GT Plan is about $415.4m in capital investment and $26.3m in operations and maintenance investment.
The commission added in its order that according to APCo, its three-year GT Plan is not a material departure from the company’s current distribution investment strategy, and the company proposes to incorporate into its GT Plan the company’s existing program of replacing distribution assets that are near or at the end of their useful lives with infrastructure that facilitates the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) or enhances the reliability and security of the distribution grid.
The commission noted that the company states that its proposed GT Plan includes:
- Continued replacement of automated meter reading (AMR) equipment, which has reached the end of its useful life, with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). According to the company, it began the transition from AMR to AMI in 2017, and anticipates the replacement of 167,000 meters by the end of 2018; 264,000 meters in 2019; and the remaining meters throughout its Virginia service territory by the end of 2022
- Asset improvement project, which would involve replacing aging distribution line and distribution substation equipment along with re-engineering facilities to make them less susceptible to the impacts of weather
- Grid automation project, which would involve installing automated control systems for the company’s electric distribution circuits and substations – that would improve system resiliency by reducing the duration of outages and limiting sustained outages to smaller numbers of customers, compared to manual recovery efforts
- Vegetation management
- Distributed grid security and cyber security projects, which “will help [APCo] maintain compliance with extensive and rigorous mandatory cyber security requirements”
The commission said that by Feb. 7, any person or entity wishing to participate as a respondent in the proceeding may do so by filing a notice of participation; by March 12, each respondent may file with the commission clerk, and serve on staff, the company, and all other respondents, any testimony and exhibits by which the respondent expects to establish its case; by March 26, staff is to investigate the petition and file with the clerk copies of its testimony and exhibits; by April 9, APCo is to file with the clerk any rebuttal testimony and exhibits that it expects to offer, for instance; and that by April 16, any interested person may file written comments on the petition with the clerk.