Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. on Friday responded to issues raised by the staff of the West Virginia Public Service Commission and its consultants regarding TrAILCo’s application to build a new 500-kV transmission line. The company’s response was filed as rebuttal testimony in connection with the evidentiary hearing concerning the line, which begins Wednesday, Jan. 9 in Charleston.

“We’re confident our testimony fully addresses the staff’s concerns and further supports the new line as the appropriate solution for looming reliability issues on the transmission network,” said David E. Flitman, president of Allegheny Power and Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co.. “Our nation’s top energy experts have called for new transmission lines to prevent power reliability problems. We believe this new line is the right solution to keep the lights on for years to come.”

During the hearing, TrAILCo witnesses – including a representative of PJM Interconnection, which directed the line to be constructed – will testify to the need for the line, the selection of the proposed route, economic benefits and more. Evidentiary hearings are on-the-record proceedings that allow for the cross-examination of witnesses and a thorough vetting of all evidence related to a specific project.

PJM, the organization responsible for the transmission grid for a 13-state area, warns that without TrAIL, the stability of the grid and reliable flow of electricity within the region cannot be reasonably assured. This could result in blackouts, voltage disruptions, and brownouts throughout the region, including West Virginia, as soon as 2011.

While the line is critical to the ongoing reliability of the grid, there are other benefits to the West Virginia economy as well, which include:

  • expanding markets for local coal;
  • an estimated 700 jobs during the construction phase; and
  • the potential for new generation projects, including clean-coal technologies.