FirstEnergy Corp. has announced that its American Transmission Systems Inc., (ATSI) transmission subsidiary, and its Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI) electric utility company have filed a complete construction application with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB). The project -- to construct a new 138-kV transmission line and substation in northeast Ohio -- is designed to serve parts of Geauga and Ashtabula counties. In Ohio, the OPSB is responsible for approving the location of major utility facilities.

As part of the process, a copy of the complete application also was provided to public officials in Geauga and Lake counties, and copies were placed in local libraries in Burton, Chardon, Madison, Middlefield, Morley and Thompson for local residents to review.

"Geauga County and parts of Ashtabula County have experienced significant residential, commercial, and industrial growth over the last eight or so years, far outstripping average load growth in our Ohio service areas," said Richard R. Grigg, executive vice president and chief operating officer for FirstEnergy. "This transmission project is designed to help us continue to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers in the region."

FirstEnergy worked with URS, a nationally known engineering firm specializing in transmission issues, to determine the best route for the project. As required by OPSB regulations, the application includes descriptions of a preferred and alternate route for the proposed transmission line:

  • Preferred Route -- It largely follows a cross-country route originating at a new substation that will be built to the west of CEI's existing Huntsburg Substation on Mayfield Road in Huntsburg Township. From there, the preferred route runs north for approximately 14.7 miles, through portions of Huntsburg, Montville and Thompson townships in Geauga County and into Madison Township in Lake County where it interconnects with ATSI's existing 138-kV Mayfield-Ashtabula transmission line. This mostly rural route would cross approximately 87 properties.
  • Alternate Route -- It largely follows a road corridor route located adjacent to Clay Street, and originates at a new substation that will be built near the intersection of Clay Street and Mayfield Road in Huntsburg Township. From there, the alternate route runs north for approximately 12 miles through Huntsburg, Montville and Thompson townships to a point in Thompson Township where it interconnects with ATSI's existing 138-kV Mayfield-Ashtabula transmission line. This road-corridor route would cross approximately 182 properties.

With the completed application now filed, the OPSB will appoint an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to conduct hearings on the merits of the proposed line. The ALJ will establish dates for public and adjudicatory hearings in this case. Once these dates are scheduled, the company will publish two separate public notices in local newspapers, advising of the date, time and place for the public hearing, which will be held in Geauga County and will provide all interested parties the opportunity to speak regarding the project.

The adjudicatory hearing will be held at the OPSB's offices in Columbus, and will provide an opportunity for ATSI, CEI, OPSB staff and other interveners to call and examine witnesses regarding the project. OPSB staff now are reviewing the application, and will issue a staff report and recommendation 15 days before the public hearing.

Following the hearing process, the OPSB will make the decision as to whether the Geauga County transmission line project should go forward and, if so, the routing for the project. A decision is expected in mid-2008.