Transource files application for power line through York County
Transource Energy has submitted its final application for a proposed transmission line through York County, and the formal protest period will soon be opened.
PJM Interconnection hired Transource to build the $320 million "market efficiency" project, known as the "Independence Energy Connection."
The east segment of the project includes approximately 16 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone Substation, near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland.
There also is a west segment that runs through Franklin County, and Transource submitted a separate application to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission for each segment, according to PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen.
Hagen-Frederiksen said Transource's applications are already published online and are expected to be formally published in the PA Bulletin on Jan. 20.
The formal publication will initiate the formal protest period, where interested individuals or groups will have 30 days to file a legal protest to the project.
The PUC granted Transource a certificate of public convenience — giving the company public utility status — in December for York and Franklin counties, but Hagen-Frederiksen emphasized that Transource still needs approvals for any projects.
Abby Foster, a Transource spokeswoman, said the company's proposed pathway was influenced by discussions with potentially affected landowners and open-house meetings.
Public input also has led the company to alter its proposal to include the use of steel monopoles, which Foster said would allow typical regional farming practices to continue within the path's right-of-way.
One group expected to participate in the formal protest period is the York County Planning Commission. Wade Gobrecht, assistant director of the planning commission, said they still need to evaluate Transource's final application before determining its opposition plan.
Planning commission director Felicia Dell said the proposed path they've seen would potentially affect natural features and preserved farmland that the county has spent a lot of money to protect.
Dell said it's also important to note that the Transource power line wouldn't be benefiting electricity consumption needs in York County but rather surrounding counties south and west of the line.
Foster said the need for the additional power line was determined by PJM, and she added that York County residents have likewise benefited from recent power-line improvements in Indiana and Westmoreland counties.
Once the applications are published and the formal protest period is completed, public hearings will be scheduled, and the PUC will look at a number of factors, including need, existing land use and alternative plans before making a final decision, according to Hagen-Frederiksen.
People interested in speaking at the public hearings do not need to file formal protests, he added.
Gobrecht suggested that residents wishing to speak against the proposed power line should attend those meetings equipped with a reason why they don't want it.
Transource has set a projected timeline to begin construction in 2019, but Hagen-Frederiksen said the PUC has no specific timetable for reviewing the application.
The company has the power of eminent domain but must receive PUC approval before construction of the project.
— Reach David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.