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PATH powerline plan delayed

By Staff | May 8, 2009

An existing high-voltage line already passes in the southern Jefferson County area. Photo by James P. Whipple, for the Chronicle

Allegheny Energy reports that plans for the completion of the high voltage power line known as the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline or PATH as it is known will not be completed until June of 2014. The original target completion date was 2013.

“The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), a 765-kilovolt line extending from southwestern West Virginia to central Maryland, now has a June 2014 completion deadline,” the company said in an April press release. The schedule change was made because of a reliability analysis study done by the Pennsylvania New Jersey Maryland Interconnection LLC or (PJM). Several factors were considered, including the 2009 load forecast. PJM is the regional grid operator for the four state area.

Allegheny Energy headquarters is located in Greensburg Pennsylvania. The company services 1.6 million customers in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The delay in the building of the power line is a “mixed blessing,” say people who are fighting the construction of the high voltage line, slated to be built through Summit Point.

“It’s to our benefit, it gives us more time,” said Patience Wait, a member of West Virginia Citizens Against PATH. “In the last two years, the consumption of electricity has dropped and surrounding states are starting to take notice.”

Wait said she sticks by her early statement that “The PATH program is bad. It’s very bad not only for Charles Town and Jefferson County but for all of West Virginia.” Wait feels the company itself will come to realize this new high voltage line is not needed anytime soon.

John Shea, a resident of Summit Point, also is against the PATH construction through part of Summit Point.

“I don’t see how it helps us,” Shea said. “I think it will destroy a lot of houses near it and will displace part of the Jefferson County history.”

Recent energy load forecasts issued by the area’s Regional Transmission Organization PJM show that the severe and ongoing economic recession that is facing the country has resulted in a decrease in energy consumption.