Big win for Stop the Poles!

August 17th, 2009


Today a big win for Stop the Poles!  The New Jersey Dept. of Transportation said a big resounding “NO!” to Atlantic City Electric’s request to use DOT Right-of-Way to stick it to the community!

New Jersey DOT Letter of Denial – August 2009

Atlantic City Electric is part of PEPCO Holdings Inc, a big electric conglomerate in the Mid-Atlantic. They (the big boys, not ACE, I’m sure) decided they wanted to build a 230kV loop around the area to reinforce the system, in expectation of massive power transfers up from Salem, right ACE?

So they just up and decided to build it.  Above are the transmission lines built on Bridgeton Road, one of those “elevator” construction jobs, where there’s no poles, and one day, someone “pushes the button” and there they are in all their ugliness.  No notice, no consultation, no fanfare, no nothing,one day they saw them being pounded into the ground, going over fields, roads, right across Bridgeton Road from homes that are up against the road on the other side, so close it’s disgusting and downright dangerous … there’s zero clear zone from the road, EMF right there and nowhere to go …  and then there’s the substation.


The substation is lit up like an inter-gallactic space station and hums so loudly that the neighbors are losing sleep.  It’s been a community point of contention with Atlantic City Electric ever since they appeared.

And Atlantic City Electric wanted to double the mess by doing the same thing along Highway 77.  Highway 77 already has some smaller wood poles, and along Bridgeton Road and along Highway 77, cars are regularly careening off the road and there’s wreck after wreck there.  Newer and bigger poles is not a good idea.

So the DOT told ACE where NOT to stick their poles!  Looks like it’s time for the Atlantic City Electric folks to head back to PEPCO for a little training in application procedures and public relations!  Not that PEPCO knows…


(gotta get some mileage out of it, what with the same theme today on NoCapX and Legalectric)

PEPCO’s 2nd Quarter 2009 8-K popped into the inbox today (if you register at the SEC site, they’ll show up the minute they’re filed), and here’s a couple choice graphics:


(click on graph to get a larger one)

This is PJM, no PEPCO specific info anywhere.  Note the scale here, it starts at 29,000, and note that the downward trend for PJM starts the same time as Xcel’s — in 2007.  This is not a little blip of last fall’s economic implosion, it’s a longer-term symptom of our economic disaster that is capitalism.

And here’s the PEPCO dollar specifics:


Is that hilarious or what…

PJM, Delmarva Power, PEPCO, PHI, whatever, admit that demand is down and that the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, the transmission line through Maryland and Delaware to New Jersey, should be delayed


The Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, or MAPP, is part of PJM’s “Project Mountaineer,” a web of lines expressly designed to move coal generation from the Amos plant in West Virginia and gather other coal and nuclear generation and send it in a northeasterly direction:


See the MAPP line there in the NE section of Project Mountaineer line 4?

PJM has recommended delay of the inservice date for a portion of the MAPP line by a year, the portion from Indian River to Salem nuclear plant.  What remains, however, is a problem, because electrically, it makes no sense to build a 500kV radial line to nowhere.  If part of the line should be delayed, the ENTIRE line should be delayed.

Here’s the corporate Press Release and two “articles” which should be compared!

Press Release from Delmarva site

MAPP: Controversial High Voltage Electric Transmission Line Delayed for One Year

PJM Reinforces MAPP Need: Adds Year to Schedule (states “contributed by Delmarva Power”)

This demonstration of lack of need is something that should be raised in the Delmarva Power IRP docket, that demand is down so significantly that PJM thinks infrastructure construction should be delayed.  And yes, PJM demand is way, way down.

PJM Annual Report Link

So, since demand is so far down, this is a good time to let the PSC know, in the Delmarva Power IRP docket, that we know that demand is down, so far down that they can’t cover anymore and they have to postpone some of their infrastructure construction.  The Hearing Officer is taking public comments on the Delmarva Power IRP until some time in July, I think the 25th.

Send IRP Public Comments to the Hearing Eximaner Ruth Price:

What’s an IRP Comment?  The Integrated Resource Planning process is supposed to be the way a utility plans ahead to cover their demand, and it’s essentially the intersection of energy policy and those #(%&*)#*( utilities.  This is the arena where it’s determined whether they should meet their demand through conservation (the cheapest and environmentally the smallest footprint), efficiency steps like load shifting and SmartGrid,  offshore wind paired with natural gas for backup, and whether external costs of various generation options are taken into account.  SOOOOO, does that give you an idea of what’s up?

See Delmarva Power’s IRP docket at the PSC, scroll down beyond that rulemaking on the top:

PSC’s Delmarva IRP page

And note this sly trick — they couldn’t get their IRP right from last cycle and were told by PSC staff to take it home and try again, and the last revision of that last IRP is the one they submitted:

December 1, 2008 IRP (from last cycle)

And they said in their accompanying letter that this one should be for THIS cycle!   AAAAAAARGH!

So, it’s time to review this joke of an IRP, take a look at PJM load forecasting, look at PJM and PEPCO SEC filings like their 2008 10-K and 2009 1st Quarter 10-Q:

PJM 2008 Load and Forecast Report

Dig up some good conservation reports and sent them in as examples of what can be done.  Let them know that with PJM demand down, we expect some changes, that this is a good opportunity to take a sustainable fork in the road, when demand is down we can make conscious choices.

Once more with feeling, check out the Delmarva Power IRP and send comments to

We’re stuck here in Minnesota for a while, parental health issues to deal with, and thankfully others have posted on the meeting this week in Delaware about the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway proposed by Delmarva and PEPCO.

Howard – Delmar DustPan: The Millsboro’s MAPP Meeting

His post shows that it’s the same everywhere — coffee & cookies and 20 utility employees to “explain.”  TWENTY!

From his blog — does this scene look familiar:


AND knowing that 600 showed up in Maryland, that there’s lots of interest, he notes that there were only 30 chairs.  Come on, PEPCO, that is SO tacky…

This project is part of something much bigger…

Here’s my post on RTEP – Regional Transmission Expansion Plan

Here’s some info about their plan, the original proposal, and info about AC v. DC lines, focused on the submarine cable for the Chesapeake Bay:

PHI Transmission Line Proposal – May 15, 2006

June 12, 2008 MAPP Project Update

FERC has approved a Return on Investment of 12.8%:

FERC Approval of Rate Recovery November 3, 2008

The June 12 PowerPoint says it will cost $1.5 billion, and the FERC press release says $1.05 billion.  Slip of the decimal?

Take a look at their Market Efficiency Analysis — projections of cost and revenue changes:


In short, here’s what this line is about:


I found a powerpoint with some of the upgrades planned:

Sept 9 2008 PJM Subregional Planning – Mid-Atlantic

Here are maps to some Delaware projects from this September powerpoint: