The Public Service Commission of West Virginia issued an order late Friday approving construction of Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Co.'s 500-kV transmission line project in West Virginia subject to certain conditions.
“After a thorough, extensive public process, the Commission has authorized this critical upgrade to the transmission system,” said Paul J. Evanson, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Allegheny Energy. “We commend the Commission for taking this important action to improve the reliable flow of electricity in West Virginia and throughout the mid-Atlantic area.”
The order approves TrAILCo’s preferred route, as well as certain modifications south of Morgantown known as the Grafton Area Route and other individual adjustments. The order also requires Commission approval in the other states that the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line (TrAIL) must pass through, prior to beginning construction in West Virginia. TrAILCo continues to evaluate other specifics of the order.
The Commission also approved TrAILCo’s settlement agreement with the Staff of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, the Consumer Advocate Division, and the West Virginia Energy Users Group concerning TrAIL. The settlement provides specific benefits to West Virginia, including:
The West Virginia segments of TrAIL represent the largest portion of the project, which is also awaiting regulatory decisions in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Earlier in the week, the Hearing Examiner in Virginia recommended that regulators in that state authorize construction of the Virginia segments of TrAIL, subject to approvals in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. TrAILCo expects decisions from state regulators in Virginia and Pennsylvania later this year.
In the meantime, TrAILCo will proceed with pre-construction activities, including: right-of-way acquisition, permitting, and engineering activities in West Virginia. The construction phase will last about two-and-a-half years, with TrAIL planned for completion by June 2011.