Regulators hold hearing on PATH line

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - Developers of a proposed multi-state power transmission line are asking Virginia regulators to delay the review schedule for the line aimed at meeting the region's growing demand for energy.

American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy asked the State Corporation Commission to extend proceedings on its request for the Virginia segment of the $2.1 billion Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH. Regulators indicated they plan to rule on the delay soon.

The proposed 275-mile, 765-kilovolt power line would run from AEP's John Amos plant in West Virginia, 31 miles across three counties in northern Virginia, to a substation near Kemptown, Maryland.

The companies want to update the application with new projections on increased energy demands along the East Coast by 2015 that were released in late December.

They have argued that the power line is needed to feed the Northeast's growing need for energy. The analyses found that PATH continues to be the best fix for overloading that's expected to start in 2015, the companies said.

PJM Interconnection, the transmission authority that manages the grid system for a 13-state region, said overloads and other issues could trigger blackouts and brownouts in the region by mid-2015 if the line is not built.

However, opponents of the line have argued that electrical demand projections are inaccurate and that the line would only serve to continue the use of coal for electrical generation.

Similar requests are pending in West Virginia and Maryland.


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