BGE seeks waiver of CPCN requirement for proposed 230-kV line project

BGE said that it has been directed by PJM Interconnection to modify the existing line that runs between BGE’s Northwest #2 substation in Baltimore County and BGE’s Conastone substation in Harford County

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) on June 6 filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission a request for a waiver of the requirement to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) in relation to its proposal to modify an existing 230-kV, overhead transmission line.

BGE said that it has been directed by PJM Interconnection to modify the existing line that runs between BGE’s Northwest #2 substation in Baltimore County and BGE’s Conastone substation in Harford County. BGE said that it has been requested to deliver an installation that provides circuit ratings of 900 MVA and 1200 MVA for Summer Normal and Summer Emergency conditions, respectively.

The new conductor would be larger and strung at a higher tension than the existing conductor, BGE said, adding that that would place higher loads on the existing support structures. To accommodate those increased loads and address hardware wear on the existing support structures, BGE would undertake structural steel replacement and additions on 121 existing structures.

The company also said that six existing structures would be replaced due to the increased wire tension loads or conductor clearance concerns. One new steel structure composed of two weathering steel single-circuit poles would be installed between existing structures #198 and #199, the company said.

The existing 1,272 kcm ACSR and 1,590 kcm ACSR conductors would be replaced with new 1927-TW-T13 ACCR conductor, BGE said, adding that that high temperature low sag conductor supports the increased conductor rating required by PJM with minimal impacts to the existing transmission tower line.

To support the transmission circuit upgrades, additional work is required within BGE’s Conastone substation, with that work including the replacement of two 230-kV breakers, six 230-kV maintenance disconnect switches, and two 230-kV line disconnect switches.

The company also said that it plans to begin construction work on the project in 3Q19, and that it estimates that it would take about 15 months to complete the project. BGE noted that the estimated cost to complete the project is $60m, and that it would seek recovery of the cost through its formula transmission rate contained in PJM’s Open Access Transmission Tariff on file with FERC.

The project site is located in sparsely populated rural areas of Baltimore and Harford counties, BGE said, adding that all construction work on the project would take place on BGE-owned property. Adjacent properties are predominantly agricultural and farming businesses, the company said, adding that it has begun outreach to select adjacent property owners during the survey and data collection phase of the design of the modification. BGE said that it has recently notified all property owners adjacent to, and in close proximity of, the project site. BGE noted that it has also informed government officials of Baltimore and Harford counties about the project.

The company said that it anticipates only minimal environmental impacts from the construction of the project because of its use of existing right of way (ROW) corridors, many of which are stoned.

BGE said that one section of the Public Utilities Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland provides in relevant part that for construction related to an existing overhead transmission line designed to carry a voltage in excess of 69 kV, the commission is to waive the requirement to obtain a CPCN if the commission finds that the construction does not:

  • Require the electric company to obtain new real property or additional ROWs through eminent domain
  • Require larger or higher structures to accommodate increased voltage or larger conductors

The company noted that those statutory requirements for obtaining a mandatory waiver of the CPCN requirements from the commission are satisfied in the proposed project because:

  • All work involved with the project relates to existing overhead transmission lines designed to carry a voltage in excess of 69 kV
  • In order to build the project, BGE would not need to obtain any new real property or additional ROWs through eminent domain. All work related to the project would take place on existing BGE ROWs between the Conastone and Northwest substations, or within the Conastone substation itself
  • BGE would not install any larger or higher structures to accommodate increased voltage or larger conductors. All overhead transmission lines in the scope of the project would remain energized at 230 kV following the construction work, and any newly installed conductors would be the same voltage as the existing conductors

BGE is an Exelon (NYSE:EXC) company.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.