Power line cost an unjust punishment
Imagine your next-door neighbor decides to put in a swimming pool.
You’re pretty excited until, somehow, your neighbor gets a court of law to force you to pay the $30,000 cost of the pool.
Then, that same court rules that you can swim in the pool you paid for only 10 days each year.
If you think that makes no sense, wait until you hear this doozy: Federal regulators want Delaware electricity customers to pay some $245 million for a power line project that will mainly benefit our neighbors in New Jersey.
Officials need the transmission line to run from Artificial Island nuclear complex in New Jersey across the Delaware River so it can take advantage of a substation in Delaware.
Then 90 percent of the power generated from the new, more efficient power line will head right back across the river. And the way the project has been designed, PJM, the company building the new line, will not be able to flick a few switches and shift a higher percentage of the electricity to Delaware.
Federal rules allow companies like PJM to, at their own discretion, foist the cost of such projects on states in which it operates. PJM operates in both Delaware and New Jersey but has decided that 92,000 Delaware customers need to foot most of the bill.
PJM isn’t saying and, because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already given the project the green light, it’s not legally required to justify the move to its customers.
Delaware’s Public Service Commission, Gov. Jack Markell and the state’s congressional delegation have registered their objections to PJM’s move.
But, barring any change, Delawareans could see their electric bills increase by as much as $13 per month. Small companies might have to pay $6,600 more per month, and larger businesses could see their monthly bills rise by $50,000.
Of course, those estimates could grow further. When the power line project started, PJM estimated its cost at $137 million.