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Advocates against Transource Energy share knowledge during an informal meeting at the Airville Volunteer Fire Station in Airville, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.

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A hearing in Harrisburg later this month will bring in experts to testify about potential benefits of a proposed high-voltage power line through York County.

It will be the third hearing since PJM Interconnection, the regional electric transmission grid operator, selected Transource in 2017 to build the “market efficiency” project, known as the Independence Energy Connection.

York County is in the east segment of the project, which includes approximately 16 miles of new transmission line that will connect a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone Substation, near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland. A west segment runs through Franklin County.

The estimated $372.23 million project needs Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approval before construction can begin.

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PJM was required to meet two criteria to construct the power line project: market efficiency and reliability benefits. Company spokesman Jeff Shields said these benefits primarily deal with stabilizing the system and preventing an overload.

"The number one mission is to keep the lights on at all times," he said.  

Opposition parties such as Stop Transource disagree about the benefits. Member Barron Shaw said he thinks the company "makes it seem like people's lights will go out if (the power line is) not built."

Shaw, of Hopewell Township, also said he thinks the power overloads are "small in the grand scheme of things." 

The hearing before PUC administrative law judges is slated for 10 a.m. June 27 and June 28 at the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. It is open to the public. 

Following the hearing, the judges will close the record and make a recommendation to the commission about how to proceed, according to PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, who said it is unclear how long this will take. 

The commissioners will review the information for "as long as they feel is necessary to make decisions," Hagen-Frederiksen said, adding, "The timetable can change based on many different factors." 

One opposition group, Stop Transource Franklin County, recently filed a motion on May 30 requesting more time to submit testimonials. No decision has been made regarding that request.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at  @tina_locurto.

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