Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) and PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) announced possible routes for a new power line that will assure the reliability of the transmission system and meet growing demand for safe, reliable power in the region. The new line, which is required by PJM Interconnection, the region’s independent system operator, will help prevent overloads and possible blackouts on the power grid, such as the one that occurred in the Northeast in August 2003. PSE&G and PPL will partner to build the new 500-kV power line, to be known as the Susquehanna-Roseland Project. The line will connect PSE&G’s switching facilities in Roseland, NJ, with PPL’s Susquehanna switching station near Berwick, PA. Both companies are seeking public comment on where the line should be placed.
"Public input and understanding are an extremely important part of the process we will use to pick a route," said David E. Schleicher, vice president of Transmission, PPL. "We will consider all comments we receive before choosing a final route to propose to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for approval."
“This new transmission line is essential for New Jersey to meet the growing demand for electricity over the long term,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. “PJM, which oversees reliability planning for the region, has identified a number of areas in which additional transmission facilities are needed to ensure the continued reliability of our region’s electric grid and our state’s economic growth.”
PJM Interconnection has determined that this new power line is needed between the Berwick area of Pennsylvania and the Roseland area of New Jersey. PJM has assigned PPL the responsibility to build the Pennsylvania portion of the line and PSE&G to build the New Jersey portion.
Without the new line, PJM is projecting overloads on existing power lines starting as early as 2013. The danger is greatest during periods when demand is highest, such as the hottest days of summer, or when other power lines or equipment are unavailable because of maintenance. These overloads – the result of steadily increasing demand for power without a corresponding increase in the number of power lines to carry it – could cause brownouts or blackouts for PSE&G and PPL customers and throughout the region, according to PJM.
PPL has conducted an extensive study of eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania and selected three possible routes for the Pennsylvania portion of the line. A map of these routes can be found at www.pplreliablepower.com. "As much as practical, each possible route we chose follows existing power lines or existing power line rights of way. Building in those areas would mean that this new line would have much less impact on nearby residents and on the environment," Schleicher said.
After extensive review of potential transmission pathways in northern New Jersey, PSE&G has identified three possible routes for the new line. To minimize the potential impact on nearby residents and the environment, the three routes follow existing power lines or existing power line rights of way as much as possible. A map of the proposed routes is available on the project’s Web site at www.reliabilityproject.pseg.com. A public workshop to answer residents’ questions and obtain their input has been scheduled in each of the three counties that contain one or more of the routes.
PSE&G is conducting an extensive public outreach and communications program about the new line, including: Full details on the project web site; meetings with local officials in the towns along each of the routes, key government agencies and newspaper editors and reporters; newspaper and radio advertisements to announce the locations of the public workshops, and An e-mail address for comments.
PSE&G expects to select a preferred route in July, and begin the extensive approval and permitting process in late summer. Pending approvals, construction would start in late 2009 with completion of the new line in time for the summer of 2012.
"We understand that this kind of work can cause concerns for nearby residents.,” said PPL’s Schleicher. “We are being extremely careful to balance the need to build this project with our responsibility to care for the environment and to minimize the impact on nearby residents."
PPL is conducting an extensive public outreach and communications program about the new line, including full details on the project Web site; an electronic newsletter for those who subscribe; meetings with key newspaper editors and reporters around the region; advertisements in major papers to announce the locations of the public input workshops; and a special toll-free number for comments.
PPL Electric Utilities expects to select a preferred route about a month after the public input sessions end, and expects to propose that route for approval to the PUC later this year. The PUC review process, which also includes input from the public, could take as long as a year.