Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 5, 2014

McDowell County: APCO upgrades planned

WAR — Power line workers and their equipment will become common sights in McDowell County if the state Public Service Commission approves a plan to upgrade southern West Virginia’s electrical infrastructure.

In late May, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company filed for a certificate of convenience to install and construct transmission facilities in McDowell County. Much of the project is near the city of War and along the state line with Tazewell County, Va.,

“We’re actually constructing and rebuilding and upgrading a number of projects to help with the delivery of bulk power,” said John Shepelwich, a spokesperson for Appalachian Power.

The power company is rearranging some of its generation capacity. Some small power plants like the one in Glen Lyn, Va. are closing, he said. The closing of these small power plants means that power transmission lines will have to be rearranged.

“It’s easier to move power around, and we want to make sure that it adds to the reliability of power to the customers,” Shepelwich said. “This is a project we look to complete in 2017.”

 The project’s total cost is $80 million, which includes $55 million handled by WV Tranco, the company working on the project he said.

The project is basically within existing property easements. Approximately 35 miles of existing 88-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines would be retired and removed. Two existing substations would be removed and retired, and three new substations would be constructed, he said. Another 17 miles of an existing power lines, ranging for 34.5 kV and 88 kV, would be rebuilt.

McDowell County customers could see older wooden H-frame power line towers replaced with taller, sturdier metal H-frame towers, Shepelwich stated.

It has been estimated that residential customers’ rates, assuming a home uses about 1000 kilo-watt hours of electricity a month, would increase by approximately 5 cents a month, according to the legal notice published Wednesday in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. If there is no substantial protest within 30 days, the commission may waive a formal hearing and render its decision based on the application’s evidence.

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