Category Archives: Transmission

Delmarva Power ratepayers to be ripped off for new transmission line

PJM_ArtificialIslandProjectRecommendation

[This is from Carol Overland, an expert. Delmarva Power electric bills are being used as an infinite cookie jar by the electricity industry and Delaware politicians. The Bloom Energy scheme, and the huge cost/no benefit transmission line described below are only examples. What makes this possible? A feeble and ineffectual Public Service Commission and “Public Advocate,” a governor and General Assembly seemingly indifferent to the public interest, and an incomprehensibly complex and diabolically clever electricity industry.

Alan Muller
***************************]

Yesterday, PJM (the regional electricity “system operator”) “approved” a transmission line from Artificial Island across the Delaware Bay, Delaware River, to link into the newer north/south transmission line built a few years ago (see map above).  Perhaps the only good news is that the line is to be under the river, rather than overhead like the existing crossing.

And, they plan to do this project almost entirely on Delmarva ratepayers’ dime. WHAT? So is the state going to join Illinois and sue FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and PJM about their cost apportionment scheme?

Will Delaware, like Illinois, sue FERC and PJM?

Sure hope so — they’ve got it coming.  Cost apportionment is a big issue, and for PJM, well, they’d taken their cost apportionment dream to FERC, got the FERC rubber stamp, but it seems they’ve not done a good job of it, according to the Federal Court — that’s old news:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

Fast forward to today — turns out Delaware’s Gov. Markell is objecting to costs assessed to Delaware ratepayers, (though I’m not seeing any objection to the project itself coming out of Delaware).  DOH!  He’d better, this project does nothing for Delaware.

Here’s the PJM Planning doc that tells all:

PJM White Paper Artificial Island Project

Note on the first page the statement of need, of why this project is wanted — this is really important:

PJM specified that solution proposals must improve stability margins, reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements and address high voltage reliability issues.

So let me get this straight — they’re having stability and reliability issues and PSEG wants to reduce Artificial Island MVAR output requirements?  PUH-LEEZE… This is a benefit to PSEG, not Delmarva…

And look what our big-coal friends at ODEC have to say:

ODEC letter regarding Artificial Island 7-29-2015

This project taps into the new line that was built not long ago:

RTEP_DE

Delaware has no regulation of transmission need or siting — so utilities can pretty much do whatever they want.  Further, it’s a FERC tariff, so the state doesn’t have anything to say about it going into the rates, and cost apportionment.  Great, just great.  So now Markell is objecting?  It’s a little late…

Here’s the report about this PJM approval from Jeff Montgomery, News Journal:

Disputed cost-shares remain in plan for new power line

Delaware needs legislation — legislation like a “Power Plant Siting Act” and a legislative requirement of a need determination for whatever infrastructure they think they want.  They need legislation specifying that only Delaware utilities can own and operate transmission in Delaware (see House Bill 387 from the 2014 session).  Here’s what House Bill 387 would have done (It would have been an effective good start, protective of Delaware!), establish that a utility wanting to construct and operate transmission demonstrate NEED!  Here’s the wording, though it would require quite a bit more, and some solid rules, to be effective:

(5)Public utility electric transmission service providers must have a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of any new electric transmission lines operating at 100KV or greater and located in the State or offshore waters and integrated with the State electric transmission grid.In granting such certificate, the Commission shall consider:

a.the need for the proposed transmission line;

b.the impact on the reliability of the transmission grid

c.the long term viability of the public utility proposing the line;

d.the technical engineering and operating expertise of the public utility;

e.the technology and design proposed for the new transmission line; and

f.the economic and safety impact of the proposed transmission line.

Here’s the schedule going forward from the PJM Board meeting yesterday:

PJM_ArtificialIslandProjectSchedule

Seems there’s an opportunity before the FERC ALJ.  But before then?  What is Delaware going to do?  Well, take a look at what Illinois did when it didn’t appreciate the FERC Cost Apportionment scheme — they sued FERC and won, based on the notion that if they weren’t benefitting, they shouldn’t be the ones paying:

Illinois Commerce Commission v. FERC August 6, 2009

The FERC Cost Apportionment scheme was remanded, and it’s in settlement negotiations right now.  What is Delaware doing in that docket?  To review the public postings, go HERE and search for FERC Docket EL05-121.  The next settlement conference is Thursday, August 6, 2015, starting at 10:15 a.m. in a hearing room at FERC HQ.  Delaware is represented in this, at least there are Delaware PSC staff listed on the service list, Janis Dillard, John Farber, and Robert Howatt.  So what are they doing about this cost apportionment scheme?  Seems this settlement conference is just the place for raising a stink about the PJM cost apportionment scheme, to raise issues of “benefits” and “cause cost, pay” arguments.  Are they showing up and speaking up for Delaware?

... posted by Carol A. Overland, Transmission Department, Green Delaware

Delmarva Power to rebuild transmission in DE

DelawareXmsnMapDelaware’s a small state, and it’s just the wrong shape for getting a good transmission map.  Click the above one for a larger view, but it’s still hard to see.  But check it out!  Take a look at that black line, stretching from Red Lion down to Milford.  That’s the 230 kV line that Delmarva Power wants to rebuild.  If they play this as I think they will (please prove me wrong), they could use this “rebuild” to significantly increase transfer capacity, which given the withdrawal of the Mid-Alantic Power Pathway (MAPP) transmission project, that’s something to watch for.

Public meeting about transmission line rebuild

7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015

Odessa Fire Company

304 Main St., Odessa, Delaware

Hosted by Delmarva Power

Carol Overland here with a post on transmission — I’m the transmission wonk, and info on this appeared in the inbox today.  Why is rebuild of a transmission line a concern?  I’m on alert because there’s essentially no regulation of transmission in Delaware, a fact that’s hard to believe given the impacts and power associated with transmission.  This project is intended to go right down an existing easement, but the original line was built 50 years ago, and there’s been a lot of development in Delaware since then.  Look at the map, and there’s a lot of development right next to this transmission line.  Do you think these folks know anything about this transmission plan?  Do you think anyone along that easement is getting direct notice about this???

At first glance, a couple of things occur to me.

  • Rebuild?  As always, I want to know the details.  they say it will still be at 230 kV.  Let’s have the conductor specs, particularly.  How big a conductor are they using, ACSR or ACSS or higher capacity?  Will they be rebuild as a single or double circuit, and will it be bundled or not?  Here’s the photo of the line, photo from Snooze Urinal, and it’s as it looks to me from driving under it numerous times on the way to/fro Port Penn:

Line - News JournalPhoto from The News Journal, delawareonline.com

  • Use of existing easement or extending beyond?  In their press release, there’s something disturbing about how they say they’re going to build this thing:

The replacement transmission line will be built along the eastern border of the existing right-of-way so that service will not be affected during construction. The original transmission line will be removed once the entire project is completed.

So looking at this photo above, it’s facing north, the H-frames are on the east side, the monopole on the west, and the News Journal report says:

The project will take place in the current line’s right of way, so no property purchases will be required, Tedesco added.

How is that possible?  The H-frames have been there a long time, and rather recently they added the monopole next to it.  Now now this will be “built along the eastern border of the existing right-of-way.”  EH?  Here’s an example, at the intersection of Port Penn Rd. and the line, the “east” is on right on this photo/map (click photo for larger version):

Port Penn Rd_HouseThis is what it looks like at the road, looking down the easement with home on the left:

668 Port Penn RdAnd here’s another example, at the intersection of Pole Bridge Rd. and the transmission lines, also on the way to/fro Port Penn, note the new subdivision roads, Waterbird Lane and Marsh Hawk Court:

Pole Bridge_WaterbirdLn&MarshHawkCtHere’s another at 955 Vance Neck Rd (the road is just to the south):

955 Vance Neck Rd2Let’s keep going further south along the easement.  Here are homes along Old Corbett Rd. near the intersection of Hwy. 9 — note it’s turned around to fit better, the “easterly” direction they’ll build into is the area towards the homes:

Old Corbett RdHere’s another subdivision on the other side of Hwy. 9, and the homes along Middessa Drive:

MiddessaDr@9Just a little further south, where the line turns southwesterly, the line is abutted by the homes on Mailly Drive and Corbit Sharp Drive:

MaillyDrCorbitSharpDrHere’s what that easement looks like — build this new thing on the easterly border of the easement?  I think not!

Corbit Sharp Drive easementAnd this northern Red Lion to Milford section of the transmission “rebuild” terminates at the Cedar Creek substation, technically in Townsend:

CedarCreekSubstationAgain, do you think these folks know anything about this transmission plan?  Do you think anyone along that easement is getting direct notice about this???

Here’s Delmarva’s Press Release:

Press Release 12/23/2014 – Delmarva Power Project to Benefit Delaware

Here’s the report from the News Journal:

Delmarva to brief public on transmission line rehab

The electrical spine of Delaware is set for a $70 million rehabilitation.

This summer, Delmarva Power will begin replacing its transmission line running from the substation in Red Lion 58 miles south to the Milford substation in Sussex County.

The utility will host a public meeting to brief the community on the project on Wednesday in Odessa.

Transmission lines serve as electrical highways carrying power from generation plants to substations before the electricity flows to homes through local lines.

The bulk of this particular project will involve removing the towering H-frame double wood poles that currently support the line. Those poles will be replaced with single steel poles towering up to 140 feet above the landscape.

The new supports will be able to withstand 100 mph winds and will replace infrastructure that was built more than half a century ago. The new line will carry the same voltage, some 230,000 volts, as the old line.

The rehabilitation will not effect customer’s power supply. Though requirements of road crossing permits are not final, the company does not expect the project will necessitate any road closings, according to Frank Tedesco, spokesman for Delmarva.

The project will take place in the current line’s right of way, so no property purchases will be required, Tedesco added.

The company will seek leasing agreements with individual property owners for space temporarily needed for construction.

“This project will strengthen our system and ensure that we can continue to meet our customers’ energy need,” Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president, said in a written statement.

The company noted the rehabilitation will ensure it meets reliability standards set by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

The project will be divided into two phases, the first stretching 15 miles between Red Lion and Cedar Creek. That phase will begin later this year with the second beginning in summer 2016.

Contact Staff Writer Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or xwilson@delawareonline.com.

 For more information:

Delmarva Power will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Odessa Fire Company, 304 Main St. in Odessa.