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SWEPCO Says Need For Reliable Power Outweights Concerns

Posted by tbaker |

This map shows the proposed routes of the new SWEPCO transmission line, with the approved route 109 shown in pink.

Editor’s Note: In response to the Administrative Law Judge’s approval of SWEPCO’s new powerline, this is what one SWEPCO rep. had to say:

We are certainly aware of the many concerns about this project. We will work hard to complete the project in a responsible manner that will minimize the impact while serving the needs of electric consumers across the region.

Issues raised by Save The Ozarks and other intervenors have been addressed by SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) during extensive testimony at the Arkansas Public Service Commission over many months, concluding with a week-long evidentiary hearing in August and additional legal briefs filed prior to the Administrative Law Judge closing the record in November and issuing her decision 60 days later. During that period, the APSC conducted four days of public comment hearings in Northwest Arkansas in July and received approximately 6,000 written public comments as part of the Commission’s decision-making process. Ultimately, the judge weighed the evidence and reached the decision that the facilities are needed and selected a route for the line.

The purpose of the proposed facilities is to provide reliable electric service to customers across the region. And as the judge said in the order (p. 95), it is important to note that construction of regional projects is for the benefit of all customers in the area, not just customers serviced by the company building the line.

… Southwest Power Pool has the responsibility for transmission planning for a nine-state region, including northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. As a transmission-owning member of SPP, SWEPCO was directed by SPP to build this line. Specifically, the project is intended to relieve overloads and reliability problems on the existing 161,000-volt system in eastern Benton County and Carroll County, and extend the 345,000-volt system to help ensure long-term reliability across the region. We had the challenge of routing a line between stations in Benton and Carroll Counties, through the congested I-540 corridor, around Beaver Lake and considering many communities and special places in the Ozarks. Our proposal has been under careful review at the Commission, which has the difficult task of balancing the needs of many stakeholders with the requirements to maintain a reliable electric system.


Peter H. Main

Principal Communications Consultant

AEP Southerwestern Power Company (SWEPCO)



Steve February 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Its great having a reply and thanks for following up on the story but I think concerns outweigh or something outweighs but I don’t think anything “outweights” something else. …just being cheeky

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Martha Peine February 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm

With all due respect, Mr. Main misrepresents the record and proceedings before the APSC. There was not one shred of evidence presented by SWEPCO that a 345kV solution was necessary to ensure reliable electric service across the region. What SPP and SWEPCO witnesses testified to was that potential reliability issues can be addressed with less destructive alternatives, but other alternatives don’t fit SPP’s “vision” for the region; a “vision” for which no evidence of need was presented. In other words, its overkill.

APSC’s statutory authority is limited to granting certificates for projects that are needed, not visualized. I believe the ALJ’s decision will be vacated because it is not supported by substantial evidence and the ALJ did not regularly pursue her authority.

This project is a far cry from a done deal and time will certainly tell that SWEPCO and SPP’s scare tactics of lights out are ludicrous.

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