Electric Transmission

Transcource – Independence Energy Connection

The proposed route of the Transcource proposed electrical transmission has been determined. Transcource is now expected to attempt to purchase easements. Landowners should be aware that eminent domain damages are based on harm to the entire property, not just the land contained within the easement(s). Some transmission line companies intentionally minimize damages by appraising incorrect property rights.

Transource settles on proposed power line route through York County

An operator of competitive wholesale electricity and its contractor have notified York County property owners of the final route of a proposed two-state transmission line it intends to submit to utility regulators in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

PJM Interconnection hired Transource Energy last year to build the $320 million “market efficiency” project, known as the “Independence Energy Connection.”

The east segment of the project includes approximately 16 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone Substation, near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland.

There also is a west segment in Franklin County, according to Transource Energy.

The final route was determined by affected landowners, Transource spokesperson Abby Foster said. The first and second attempts at routes, presented to area residents this summer, were revised based on comments, concerns and questions.

On Saturday, Transource Energy officials notified most landowners who could be affected by the transmission line, explaining to them the energy company’s next step: filing construction applications with the Pennsylvania Utility Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission by the end of the year.

Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with the line being operational by mid-2020, Transource Energy officials said.

The new power line is considered a solution to alleviating an electricity “bottleneck,” according to Transource Energy Director Todd Burns, who said there is more available electricity in the northern part of the project than in the southern part.

The new transmission line is anticipated to lower electricity costs for mid-Atlantic ratepayers, he has said.

“The input gathered over the last months was a critical component of our decision-making process,” Burns said. “We are confident that the route selection strikes the balance between building the required infrastructure that powers our homes and economy, while respecting land use and the environment in these communities.”

Transource Energy has decided to use monopole structures in its $320 million “Independence Energy Connection” project.

York County Planning Commission Director Felicia Dell has expressed concern about how the power line would affect land use in southeastern York County, which she said “has some of the best contiguous acreages of prime agricultural soils and preserved farms.”

The county Planning Commission is preparing to support landowners throughout the Pennsylvania Utility Commission public-hearing process.

“The map doesn’t provide a lot of detail, so we are working to get a better understanding of the route,” Dell said.

Members of the group Stop Transource in Pennsylvania and Maryland oppose the powerline and said they will continue attempts to block it.

Laurie Donaldson wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “this is about taking land from people and using it to build (an) unnecessary transmission line in order to make more profit for energy brokers. That is all. It benefits no one, not even DC people …”

Columbus-Ohio based Transource Energy is a partnership between American Electric Power and Great Plains Energy. The company is considered a public utility in Pennsylvania.

Transource has the power of eminent domain but must receive PUC approval before construction of the project.

Written by: Jana Benscoter | YorkDispatch

By |October 19th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Electric Transmission, Eminent domain|

Transcourse Energy

The Transcourse Energy plan for a high voltage power line in York County is reported to progress to a final route proposal to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission by November 15, 2017. Owners should consult an experienced eminent domain attorney to protect owner rights on issues such as:

  • Eminent domain power
  • Regulatory approvals
  • Survey requests
  • Precondemnation activities
  • Harm to views
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Easement terms
  • Proof of harms
  • Methods to value property
  • Just compensation
  • Condemnor payment of fees of owners

Experts: Landowners in path of power line project should know rights

Southern York County landowners who attended an informational meeting Thursday, Aug. 24, said they are prepared for a door knock if or when Transource Energy officials decide to step onto their property.

Hundreds of Hopewell, East Hopewell, Fawn and Lower Chanceford township residents stand to lose a portion of their land to a new above-ground high-voltage power-line project. Three state experts explained to them the rights they have to fight it.

Transource has the power of eminent domain, which means property owners’ land can be seized and used to build public utility infrastructure. And that power could trump any land considered part of preservation or agricultural security areas, experts said.

It is up to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to approve the power-line project.

Property rights: “You have property rights,” Penn State Law staff attorney Sean High said. High researches agricultural law issues for the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law.

PJM Interconnection, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states and the District of Columbia, claims that the project will allow existing power to freely flow south from a northern portion of the regional grid to help decrease ratepayers’ electric bills.

Despite their claim, High said, landowners can still play offense.

High encouraged landowners to hire an attorney who can write a binding contract that spells out specific concerns they have regarding eminent domain. For example, he said, if a farmer grows organic vegetables, construction trucks nearby or on their land could ruin the farmer’s business.

The $320 million “market efficiency” project is a first of its kind in Pennsylvania, state acting consumer advocate Tanya McCloskey said. It has an east and west component that affects residents of Franklin and York counties.

The project calls for 135-foot towers and miles of new transmission lines, according to Transource.

Community preparedness: “I feel the community is more prepared for Phase Two of the project,” Kim Carrick said.

Carrick is a member of the Stop Transource in Pennsylvania and Maryland group whose property is not affected by the proposed project. She said it’s her responsibility to support her community, adding she thought the agency experts’ presentations were “very concise.”

The final route for the power line is expected to be submitted to the state utility commission within the next two months, Transource spokeswoman Abby Foster said.

Public hearings: Once it’s submitted, there’s a checklist of items the commission needs to oversee, including hosting public hearings, before a final approval is rendered, McCloskey said.

She urged landowners to be part of the process. She told them to “bring information and present it to the commissioners.”

“Often farmland is viewed as the path of least resistance,” Pennsylvania Bureau of Farmland Preservation Director Doug Wolfgang said.

He said the project and its proposed route amounts to a land-use balancing act. Population projections in central Pennsylvania show a steady increase over the next several years, Wolfgang explained.

He said he strongly believes in farmland preservation, but he said he also knows the state is looking at supply and demand of pending electricity needs. And, rather than creating a route through a residential development, it’s often easier for infrastructure and transportation projects to run through farmland.

Frank Ayd, 44, of East Hopewell Township, said he, too, feels members of Stop Transource are more prepared after the meeting.

He said he and others are not naive, and if surveyors show up, “it can be very destructive,” which means fencing and trees could be removed and soil and livestock could be disturbed.

“Therefore, if contacted, I would never give permission to anyone I don’t know to even walk my property line,” he said.

Written by: Jana Benscoter | YorkDispatch

By |September 13th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Electric Transmission, Eminent domain, Property Rights|

PPL Williams Grove-Carlisle Transmission Line Project

In January 2016 Mike Faherty spoke to a group of Cumberland County property owners threatened by eminent domain for a proposed new 69-kilovolt transmission line. Mike reviewed potential alternative routes including an existing nearby right of way corridor. Mike pointed out that the announced PPL method for calculating damages fails to comply with the required method per the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code. The group will challenge public need for the project.

(Photo: Pennlive.com)

By |January 18th, 2016|Categories: Condemnation, Electric Transmission, Eminent domain, Property Rights|