Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co. (TrAILCo), a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy, Inc. has concluded evidentiary hearings in all three states for its proposed high-voltage transmission project.

The most recent hearing, before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, concluded last week. Allegheny expects decisions from regulators in West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania later this year.

PJM Interconnection, 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 cannot be reasonably assured. This could result in blackouts, voltage disruptions, and brownouts. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny forecasts potential problems with the local system as soon as 2009.

“We stand firmly committed to TrAIL, and we’re convinced it’s the right solution at the right time for our customers in Southwestern Pennsylvania,” said David E. Flitman, President of Allegheny Power. “While we understand the concerns of those opposed to TrAIL, our primary obligation is to ensure that we can provide reliable electric service to our customers. Allegheny and PJM are convinced this line is essential to meeting this important responsibility.”

Evidentiary hearings are on-the-record, fact-based proceedings that allow for cross-examination of witnesses and a thorough presentation of all evidence. TrAILCo filed a substantial amount of written testimony to respond to the testimony of other parties, including opponents of the project.

During the hearings, TrAILCo witnesses – including a representative of PJM, the grid operator that has directed construction of the line – delivered compelling testimony as to the need for the line, the proposed route, and more. TrAILCo experts also effectively countered the testimony of opposing witnesses.

“We have offered a convincing case rooted in fact and data showing why TrAIL is necessary to keep the lights on in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region,” Flitman said. “Our experts came well prepared to demonstrate the thorough evaluation undertaken concerning the need and route selection for this crucial project.”

Allegheny is committed to working with landowners, neighboring residents, business owners and regulators to balance all interests and minimize environmental and land-use impacts.

A 37-mile segment of the 500-kilovolt (kV) line, along with three related 138-kV lines, will specifically address local reliability concerns in Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Washington and Greene counties, where demand growth is straining Allegheny Power’s transmission system.

TrAIL in Southwestern Pennsylvania will carry power north from the proposed 502 Junction substation near the West Virginia border to the Prexy substation proposed for Washington County. The new transmission infrastructure in Pennsylvania will also include three smaller 138-kV lines, each approximately five miles in length, which will connect the Prexy substation to existing lines that deliver electricity to customers in Washington County.

The other segment of TrAIL in Pennsylvania is approximately one mile in length and will extend from 502 Junction to the Pennsylvania-West Virginia state line, where it will continue across West Virginia to the Meadow Brook substation near Middletown, Virginia. Dominion Virginia Power will build the line from an interconnection point east of Meadow Brook to its Loudoun substation. The 502 Junction-to-Loudoun portion of TrAIL is necessary to meet the growing demand for power in the Mid-Atlantic region and to prevent several existing transmission lines from overloading as early as 2011.