(Just looking for an excuse to trot out that pole-dancing bear!)

BEAR ALERT!!! Couldn’t happen to a more deserving company — Google Alert just sent me notice that one of my “favorite” companies is Zack’s “Bear of the Day!”  Why?  Well, they specifically mention that MAPP transmission project that just doesn’t seem to be needed:

Bear Of The Day: Pepco Holdings, Inc. (POM)

By Zacks Investment Research on June 30, 2010 |

Pepco’s (POM: 15.68 -0.11 -0.70%) $1.2 billion Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) transmission project could be delayed due to slower-than-expected load growth. The PJM Interconnection is expected to update the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP) in June 2010 and a 1-2 year delay in the project is likely.

Pepco Holdings current trailing 12-month earnings multiple is 17.5, compared to the 21.0 average for the peer group and 18.7 for the S&P 500. Over the last five years, the company s shares have traded in a range of 7.4x to 22.6x trailing 12-month earnings. The trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA multiple is slightly above the industry average.

Check out their individual reports for other utilities and industries.  Let’s hear it for the capital market crash — ain’t the depression grand?!?!?!


How bad is it?  First the Indian River to Salem leg is cancelled, then the whole thing is suspended… and here we sit… waiting… and we all know that PJM demand is down the toilet.

Click here for the last RTEP Mid-Atlantic subcommittee presentation — see if you can download it!


And they opened an office and now they announce:

MAPP Office Hours Change

The MAPP Office, located at 828 Airpax Road, Suite B700, Cambridge, Md., has adjusted their hours to coincide with the present patronage of the office.  The new hours will be Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Evening hours are available upon request by calling 410-221-6207.

Meanwhile, we wait for the RTEP that just won’t come out.  How delayed can it get?  I guess all that backwards engineering to demonstrate need takes a while, eh?


WOW!  “Nearly 600” show up for a meeting about transmission.  Good, Delmarva deserves that kind of response for their threat to ram the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway transmission line through Maryland and Delaware to New Jersey.  They’re so desperate that they’re threatening “rolling blackouts:”

Delmarva Power spokesman Matt Likovich says the region could face rolling blackouts by 2011 unless the power transmission infrastructure is improved.

More transmission lies.  WDMT caught them making the same threats:

Delmarva Power Community and Communications Coordinator Matt Likovich said, “There have been projections that if we don’t do something to improve our infrastructure… we could be faced with rolling blackouts by the year 2011.”


Threatening rolling blackouts, saying that’ll happen by 2011, so we need to build this line by 2013… yeah… sure… whatever…  Get a grip, guys, we are not that stupid, we’re not buying your threats — it is SO naughty to do that.

Power lines would relieve congestion

By Andrew Ostroski
Staff Writer

MILLSBORO — Officials from Delmarva Power met with members of the public to discuss a power line project that will cut through the heart of Sussex County, as well as much of the Delmarva Peninsula.

An increase in energy usage on the Shore has prompted Delmarva Power to start the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway project, 230 miles of interstate electric transmission line. More than 100 miles of the line are slated for Delaware, with 61 miles in Sussex County.

The lines would follow current right-of-ways, crossing the state line west of Delmar, and move northeast across the county through Gumboro and Millsboro to the Indian River Generating Station. Lines are also planned to go north through Milton and into Kent and New Castle counties before crossing the Delaware River to the Salem Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey. Total cost for construction is estimated at $1.43 billion.

“During times of congestion, we have to call in power plants to provide energy,” said Matt Likovich, spokesman for Delmarva Power. “Those operators charge more for that energy because they know we need it. We could cut those power plants out.”

Nearly 600 people filled the auditorium at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School earlier this week to listen and comment on plans to string the high-voltage electrical transmission lines across Dorchester County from Taylor’s Island to Vienna.

Potential routes for the power lines in Dorchester were presented by Pepco Holdings Senior Vice President William Gausman.

“We have not made any decisions on this project; there is still a long way to go,” he said, presenting a map of the potential routes, including one which follows existing rights-of-way for a Choptank Electric transmission line and the railroad tracks from Bucktown to Linkwood.

He said three meetings are planned this month in Dorchester to review the proposed routes and seek public comment. The meetings are set for Feb. 19 in Taylor’s Island, Feb. 24 in Church Creek and Feb. 26 in Vienna.

“More than 80 percent will be on or along existing transmission lines,” Gausman said. The problem in Dorchester, he said, is that there are no existing high-voltage transmission lines.

Currently, Delmarva Power runs one transmission line. The company would like to build a second to provide an alternate route if one line experiences congestion or malfunction.

MAPP would be the first major high-voltage transmission project executed on the lower half of the Shore in 25 years. The 500 kilovolt line is also slated to cut some costs for consumers throughout the northeast. Vince Maione, MAPP project manager, said the reduced congestion will bring savings to users.

“We see a potential savings from congestion of about 70 or 80 cents per 1,000 kilowatt hours average per month,” he said.

Some residents have expressed concerns about building the 160-foot towers planned for current rights-of-way where power lines already exist. Doris Batdorf, a Long Neck resident, said she is afraid lines will affect her property.

“We just moved here in July, and now we have this coming,” she said. “I just don’t see the cost justifying the means.”

Maione also said the project would be funded by consumers, with an average of 40 cents added to electric bills.

“We have to plan for what the future’s going to bring,” he said. “The electric system has to be reliable. This circuit can bring enough power to serve the customers that are here today, and then plan for the future.”


Delmarva Power has been hosting meetings about its proposed Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway.   The next meeting is:

Wednesday, February 4 @ 6 p.m.

Millsboro Civic Center

322 Wilson Highway

This is an electrical superhighway through Delaware, the map makes that much clear.

What’s interesting is that Rep. Tom Carper seems to be taking an enlightened and informed position on this:

Carper said the question of the power line needs to be considered in a larger context. He harkened back to the construction of Del. 1 to handle an increase in north-south travel, noting that along with the new road came a look at expanding public transit, car-pooling, and other alternatives to driving.

“Upgrading power lines on the Delmarva Peninsula may be necessary, but I hope Delawareans will take this opportunity to look not only at where a power line might go, but also at how they could help reduce the need for a new line in the first place,” Carper said.

Today, there’s a long piece in the News Journal about it, with the above quote from Carper:

Power-line plan stirs environment fears

Bluewater Wind hails pathway for clean energy

The News Journal

Environmentalists are divided over the merits of a Pepco Holdings plan to string a 500-kilovolt power line through the heart of Delaware to better connect southern power plants with growing demand in the mid-Atlantic region.

Pepco’s proposed Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway would be like an interstate highway of electricity, designed to make more space on the often-choked power grid for electricity to flow to growing population centers on the East Coast.

Clean-air advocates say it could help carry clean wind power to the homes and businesses that need it, even as they worry it will also import dirty coal-fired power from the South and Midwest.

Wildlife and property-rights advocates are afraid the line will be a blight on the landscape, running through fragile areas along the Delaware River and Bay.

The most controversy in Delaware about the power line, which is now being examined by the public in a series of public hearings, is likely to focus on an eight-mile stretch of land in southern New Castle County.

The utility would need to acquire an easement through an area near the Delaware River that includes many wetlands and state-designated critical natural areas.

Officials at Pepco Holdings, the parent company of Delmarva Power, said the specific path there has not yet been chosen.

The planned power line would start in Dumfries, Va., cut through Maryland and across the Chesapeake Bay, then run through southern Delaware to the Indian River Power Plant. The line then would continue up the length of the state and across the Delaware River, ending in Salem, N.J.

It’s one of several large lines planned in this region to shore up electrical reliability. Utility officials say it’s especially needed on the Delmarva Peninsula, where power lines currently run only from the north. This would add a second path from the west.

Although power demand is down because of the recession, utility representatives say that won’t last, and demand will one day overtax the existing grid.

By connecting three regional nuclear power plants, the new high-capacity line will spread power along the coast as well as bring in power from the coal-rich Midwest.

The $1.425 billion line is expected to add 40 cents to the average residential monthly electric bill. The costs would be borne by all electric users in the 13-state PJM Interconnection regional power grid.

The immediate need for the line is to move current through Delaware, but it also could be a useful outlet for the thousands of megawatts of renewable electricity that could one day be generated by wind turbines off the state’s coast, said Joseph Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, an area environmental group.

Bluewater Wind plans to build a small wind farm off Rehoboth Beach and sell the electricity to Delmarva Power, but the firm also hopes to expand that farm in the future to feed more power to the grid.

If the transmission grid is strong enough, Delaware could export power throughout the region, Minott said, explaining why he favors the project.

“If you’re going to create a vibrant market for wind energy, you need to be able to transmit it further than the town at the end of the beach,” said Minott, who added that he had “trepidation and concerns” about the lines being used also to expand the reach for coal-generated power.

Rob Gramlich, policy director for the American Wind Energy Association, said a better transmission system is needed for onshore wind farms to carry their output to the wider populace.

Offshore wind is different, he said. Although it’s more expensive than onshore wind, its appeal is in its proximity to population centers, he said. It doesn’t take very many miles of transmission to get the power where it’s needed, he said — a problem for generators of wind power in the nation’s more sparsely populated heartland.

Nick DiPasquale of Delaware Audubon said he would rather see small, localized, mainly renewable power sources instead of big lines that carry power from big coal-burning power plants. He’s concerned about where the Power Pathway would go.

“If it means converting protected land to developed land — even if the profile is relatively small — I would find that a very troubling precedent,” he said.

Utilities lose power when current is transmitted over long distances, said Carol Overland, a Minnesota attorney and electrical consultant who has been active on Delaware environmental issues. She said conservation and renewable-energy projects, using the existing power grid, should be sufficient.

State Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, expressed concern that electromagnetic force, or EMF, from power lines has been investigated as a cause of childhood leukemia.

In a letter to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., he wrote, “There is a grave concern amongst many Delawareans” about the line.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no scientific consensus on the health effects of EMF.

Pepco Holdings owns the rights to much of the land it needs. It’s planning to build the larger line along a right of way that already features smaller power lines.

But within the section of the line that runs from Indian River north to Salem, there will be areas where the right of way needs to be widened, the utility has said.

And there’s a yet-to-be-specified section in southeast New Castle County where the Pathway would break from the existing power line along Del. 9 and head toward the Delaware Bay, where it would cross and connect with the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear plant.

That will require Pepco Holdings to acquire eight miles of new right of way, company officials said last week.

“Whether it’s dry land, wet land, high land, I wouldn’t want to answer that question right now,” said Vince Maione, pathway project manager for Pepco. He added that the company wants to minimize impacts on the environment and the population.

PJM is still reviewing Pepco Holdings’ application for the portion of the line running north from Indian River. Once that confirmation comes, Pepco Holdings will develop the path in greater detail, Maione said.

To cross the Delaware River, the utility wants to build a second overhead crossing, about six to eight miles south of its current line.

The company has not been in touch with Delaware landowners regarding easements, said Matt Likovich, a Delmarva spokesman.

Delaware state government has little control over the portions of the line for which Delmarva already has rights of way. Unlike in Maryland, this state’s Public Service Commission does not have the authority to approve the location of a transmission line.

One of the few categories where state government has oversight is where a planned power line would cross natural areas like bodies of water and wetlands. Pepco Holdings has not been in touch to request a permit, said Philip Cherry, a state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control policy manager.

But Delmarva lacks leverage, at least on the state level, when it comes to expanding beyond its rights of way.

The state eminent-domain law doesn’t give the utility the right to seize land for a power project. Likovich said if the company can’t reach an agreement with a landowner, “we will have to construct the line by going around the property in question.”

But the utility may hold a trump card: the U.S. Energy Department last year designated Delaware part of a region where the federal government can order an electricity project finished if states fail to do so.

Delmarva officials say they’ll work hard to negotiate with landowners to avoid the issue of eminent domain.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone to take anyone’s land,” Maione said. Pressed about whether the utility would be OK with the government seizing land for the project, he said, “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Meanwhile, in Sussex County, Pepco Holdings held a community meeting in Gumboro on Thursday night, attracting 50 members of the public. The next meeting is Wednesday night in Millsboro.

Carper said the question of the power line needs to be considered in a larger context. He harkened back to the construction of Del. 1 to handle an increase in north-south travel, noting that along with the new road came a look at expanding public transit, car-pooling, and other alternatives to driving.

“Upgrading power lines on the Delmarva Peninsula may be necessary, but I hope Delawareans will take this opportunity to look not only at where a power line might go, but also at how they could help reduce the need for a new line in the first place,” Carper said.

He said that could come by saving electricity, installing solar panels on their homes, adding insulation, purchasing Energy Star appliances, or taking other steps to save electricity.

Additional Facts

The next community meeting about the power line will be held Wednesday at the Millsboro Civic Center, 322 Wilson Highway, 6 p.m.