Appalachian Power seeks regulator OK for transmission upgrade in Virginia

Appalachian Power filed an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) requesting approval for improvements to existing electric transmission facilities in Tazewell County.

The proposed Tazewell-Bearwallow 138 kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project will upgrade about 12.5 miles of 69 kV transmission line to 138 kV standards and complete necessary upgrades to three existing substations along the planned route.

The project is needed to improve electric reliability and reinforce the area’s infrastructure for future load growth as well as address aging infrastructure as approved by PJM Interconnection. PJM is Appalachian’s regional transmission operator responsible for coordinating the overall electric supply in a 13-state area which includes Virginia.

About 7.8 miles of the transmission line to be rebuilt and the Tazewell and Bearwallow substations are located in Tazewell County, Va. The remaining line rebuild and the Faraday substation are in McDowell County, W.Va. Most of the work on the transmission line will take place in the utility’s existing right-of-way. The current 60-foot right-of-way will be widened to 100 feet to accommodate the higher voltage lines and taller steel structures.

The proposed in-service date for the project is June 2017 and represents an investment of $38 million to reinforce the area’s infrastructure.  Today’s filing is the second phase of Appalachian Power’s proposal for planned improvements to the transmission system in Tazewell and Buchanan Counties. Appalachian Power received approval for the first phase from the SCC in October 2014, which included the Richlands-Whitewood 138 kV Transmission Line Project.

Earlier this week, Appalachian Power announced its Bland Area Improvements Project to address reliability issues in southwest Virginia. The project is a separate initiative that involves rebuilding an existing transmission line, adding about 6 miles of new line and building a replacement substation to support local distribution.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, which delivers electricity to more than 5.3 million customers in 11 states.

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