High power lines proposed in Franklin, York counties
CHAMBERSBURG – A utility consortium plans to construct 40 miles of power transmission lines in southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
The $320 million project is expected to save electric customers in the region about $600 million over 15 years.
Transource Energy, which has the contract to build the overhead lines, has scheduled a series of public meetings in June to meet with property owners potentially impacted by the project.
The project is divided into two parts:
The west segment includes about 25 miles of line connecting a new substation to be constructed near Shippensburg in Franklin County to the existing Ringgold Substation, near Smithsburg, Md.
The east segment includes about 15 miles of line connecting a new Furnace Run substation in southern York County to the existing Conastone Substation near Norrisville, Md.
The routes have not been proposed, according to Todd Burns, Transource director. The company has studied segments that the transmission lines might use in Franklin and York counties.
The 230 kilo-volt lines will be strung on metal towers 135 feet tall. The lines require an easement typically 130 feet wide. Landowners are compensated for the rights of way. The easements would have height and construction restrictions, but are compatible with farming, Burns said.
The utility has the right of eminent domain if an easement is needed to complete a plan approved by regulators, according to Burns. Transource has a “very low history” of using eminent domain because of fair negotiations with landowners, Burns said.
In Franklin County the transmission route could roughly follow Pa. 997, or stay west of Chambersburg until New Franklin, or it could take any number of paths between. Two sites have been proposed for the “Rice Substation” south of Shippensburg, but Southampton Township Supervisors have yet to receive any land development plans.
“We’re at the front end of the planning process,” Burns said. “We’re going to take to the public many, many study segments. We identify areas that may not be compatible, and we identify constraints, then paths begin to develop, and we discover links that will get us there.”
The lines are to be operating in 2020, according to Burns. Transource plans to submit its proposal to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission by the end of the year, after the east and west routes are chosen for the transmission lines. State agencies give regulatory approvals for the project.