FLORENCE, S.C., Aug. 26, 2002 — After a comprehensive assessment of available options, CP&L has announced a selected route for a new $19.5 million, 36-mile electric transmission line in Darlington, Lee and Florence counties.
The route was chosen because it minimizes the impact of the 230-kiloVolt line on homes and businesses, as well as historical and archaeological sites; it also does not impact known wildlife areas, crosses the least acreage of woodlands and is a relatively direct route between electric substations.
CP&L had evaluated more than 600 possible route combinations between the company’s Darlington County Plant at 4030 W. Bobo Newsom Highway and an existing electric substation at 1200 N. Douglas St. in Florence.
The transmission line is one of several major projects planned or under way throughout CP&L’s service area as part of the company’s plan to ensure a continuous, reliable flow of electricity to customers, and to avoid the types of reliability problems that have plagued other parts of the country in recent years. The transmission line is scheduled to be in service in June 2005. CP&L’s studies show that without the electric system upgrades, the area could experience voltage and reliability concerns by that time.
The route determination (segments 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 23, 26, 30, 32, 37, 40, 41 and 42; see Editor’s Note below) followed an in-depth review process that included public information workshops in Darlington and Florence in May, Web-based information and an assessment of all feedback from property owners and the public. CP&L evaluated all the possible combinations of 42 route segments and compared them based on input from area residents and information on environmental issues, aesthetics, cultural resources and other criteria.
CP&L has sent letters and maps to the approximately 185 property owners along the selected route, informing them of the route and the expected project schedule. Additionally, the company has mailed letters to update each of the area residents who participated in the public information workshop, as well as those who provided information through an on-line questionnaire.
In addition to issuing a letter, CP&L will contact all property owners along the selected line route in person. This notification will take place in August, at least 30 days before the scheduled start of the route survey in early October. The process of acquiring property easements is expected to begin late this year. The project schedule calls for clearing of the proposed line route to begin in 2003. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2004 and is expected to take 16 months.
Easements permit construction and maintenance of the power facilities. Property owners maintain ownership of the land, with some restrictions on its use.
CP&L also will conduct an environmental assessment of the selected line route and prepare a report describing each alternative considered. The environmental report will address natural and cultural resources as well as land use and aesthetics. Once completed in early 2003, the report will be submitted to the S.C. Public Service Commission (SCPSC) as part of CP&L’s application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Convenience and Necessity.
The report also will be distributed to numerous local, state and federal agencies for their review. The final document will be made available for public review at the SCPSC office in Columbia and at various locations in Florence, Lee and Darlington counties.
The power line will be attached to 85- to 100-foot-tall transmission poles, spaced approximately every 500 to 700 feet. It will transmit high- voltage electric power from the Darlington County Plant’s switchyard to the substation in Florence. A substation is a facility that contains transformers to reduce the voltage of electricity to a level that can be distributed to homes and businesses.
The project is one of several under way or planned in the Carolinas. CP&L expects to invest about $200 million in transmission system upgrades within the next five years.
CP&L will work with local governments and agencies to ensure that the project complements local growth plans. The company will comply with all regulatory requirements related to the construction and operation of the facilities. CP&L’s paramount objective is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees during construction and operation.
CP&L, a subsidiary of Progress Energy provides electricity and related services to 1.3 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and serves a territory encompassing more than 33,000 miles. The company’s Southern Region is headquartered in Florence. For more information about CP&L, visit the company’s Web site at: http://www.cpl.com.
Source: Progress Energy, Inc.