HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today conducted a binding poll on the issues related to the application by PPL Electric Utilities Inc. to construct a new 500 kV transmission line, known as the Susquehanna-Roseland project.
The poll is designed to provide a mechanism for the Commission to resolve the contested issues of the case in a public forum. Polls are used in complex cases where there are many issues to be addressed by the Commissioners and many parties have formally filed comments.
The result of the binding poll is largely consistent with the recommended decision of the ALJ, which approved with conditions PPL’s application to construct a new 500 kV transmission line. Commission Vice Chairman Tyrone J. Christy issued a dissenting statement. Commissioner Robert F. Powelson issued a statement. Audio of the meeting is available on the Commission's website.
Commissioners base their findings on the record developed in the proceeding, testimony from the parties in the case, the recommended decision from the presiding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and the briefs and exceptions presented by the parties in the case. Staff will craft an Order based on the results of the poll, and a Final Order then will be entered. The action of the Commission does not become effective until a Final Order is entered by the Commission.
The Commission voted 4-1 to approve a motion by Commissioner Kim Pizzingrilli to require the company to file a report with the Commission at this docket within 30 days of PJM Interconnection’s next update to the 2008 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), or PJM’s next baseline RTEP report, whichever is issued sooner. Vice Chairman Christy dissented.
The Commission voted 3-2 to approve a motion by Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner to make the approval granted by the Commission expire unless construction of the project commences within three years. Vice Chairman Christy and Commissioner Powelson dissented.
The Commission voted 3-2 to approve a motion from the bench by Commissioner Gardner that PPL may not begin construction on the portion of the line going through the Delaware River Gap until the National Park Service issues the necessary permits. Vice Chairman Christy and Commissioner Powelson dissented.
The Commission voted 4-1 on a motion from the bench by Commissioner Pizzingrilli to make it clear that North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards do permit planned/controlled firm loads and firm power transfers. Commission Chairman James H. Cawley issued a statement on the NERC standards. Vice Chairman Christy dissented.
The conditions outlined in the recommended decision include that PPL:
- Replace or repair any damage to homes, residences, other buildings or property caused by the construction of this project;
- Comply with any and all restrictions on the permits received from any agency or entity from which a permit is required in order to construct this project;
- Avoid where possible, archeological resources identified in the transmission line corridor, in the direct path of access roads or at locations of proposed work areas consistent with agreements between PPL and the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and the Bureau of Historic Preservation protocols;
- Will follow protocols for cultural resource studies for the project that have been agreed upon with the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and the Bureau of Historic Preservation;
- Will provide adequate advance notice to the Saw Creek Estates Community Association and each Saw Creek resident whose property is burdened by the transmission line right-of-way of when construction will be performed within the Saw Creek Estates, including when a helicopter may be used; and
- Will develop a plan to educate communities located along the proposed route regarding the construction, the mitigation efforts to be used to ensure the safety of the citizens and property, and to provide basic information regarding line features.
On Jan. 6, 2009, PPL filed an application to construct a new 500 kV transmission line. Known as the Susquehanna-Roseland project, the proposed Pennsylvania line is about 101 miles long and travels through portions of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties. PPL also requested authorization to construct a new substation in Blakely Borough, Lackawanna County, to connect the 500 kV line to the regional transmission system in that area. The PUC held four public input hearings in the area where the proposed line is to be constructed.
Information on the transmission line siting process is available on the Commission’s website.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket Nos. A-2009-2082652; A-2009-2082832; A-2009-2088297; A-2009-2088307; A-2009-2088310; A-2009-2088312; A-2009-2088315; A-2009-2088327; A-2009-2088331; A-2009-2088337; A-2009-2088340; A-2009-2088353; A-2009-2088357; A-2009-2088359; A-2009-2088360