PJM shell game continues

October 14th, 2010


This week, PJM has “decided” that part of the humongous 500kV buildout isn’t necessary.  Well DUH, but…

PJM Press Release – PJM Board authorizes $18 billion in transmission upgrades

And so please explain why the headline isn’t “PJM Board cancels 500-kilovolt (kV) line connecting the Branchburg, Roseland and Hudson substations in northern New Jersey.”

From that PJM board meeting, there was a presentation that looks like a corporate-style WAKE UP call:

Tierney Presentation to the Board

Meanwhile, I’m trying to find the primary documentation, something with specifics about what was “approved” and what was “removed” and the basis for it… nada… nothing that I can find on the site.  Something else irritating is that when I’m looking up documents on the PJM site, I often just get a blank black page, particularly from the TEAC site.

One interesting presentation was about a Market Efficiency Analysis, in 2014 without Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP), Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), Branchburg-Roseland-Hudson and Susquehanna-Roseland, and from then on without the Branchburg, Roseland and Hudson line:

2010 Market Efficiency Analysis Results Updates – October 6, 2010

And when I try to get closer to the Northern NJ documentation… well, tell me if YOU can get anything:

Link to “Northern Option Conceptual Study”

“File is damaged and could not be repaired.”  So I called the number on the PJM press release to see… and was told they’ll call back.  Yes, we shall see…


HA!  I love it when this happens.  Just before National Park Service public hearings (schedule below), PSEG screws up and an application gets tossed back in their face!

I’m representing Stop the Lines against PSEG”s Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project in New Jersey.

PSEG thought they’d be “smart,” and given the length and intensity of process for the federal environmental review of its proposal to cross the federally designated Wild & Scenic Delaware Water Gap with massive transmission…


… they tried to divide the line in half for its News Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection wetlands application and other DEP applications too.

First the DEP rejected that maneuver, short and sweet, and rejected their wetlands application:

PSEG Deficiency Letter July 28, 2010

Here’s the meat of it, first the funny part:


… and then, the substantive issue…


So then, PSEG withdraws their other DEP applications:

PSEG Letter of Withdrawal July 29, 2010

I love it when that happens… and what great timing.  Bring on the National Park Service hearings!

Here’s an Alert from the New Jersey Sierra Club:

Urge the National Park Service to Select the “No Action” Alternative!

The National Park Service will be hosting 3 public meetings to present the Preliminary Alternatives for the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line as part of its NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review for this project. The meetings will consist of an “open house” portion where information will be available and NPS staff can answer questions and a formal “public hearing” portion. The meetings will be held:

Tuesday, August 17
Fernwood Hotel and Resort
US 209 North
Bushkill, PA
Open House: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Stroudsmoor Country Inn – Terraview
North 4th St
Stroudsburg, PA
Open House: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Farmstead Golf and Country Club
88 Lawrence Road
Lafayette, NJ
Open House: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The proposed alternative routes can be viewed here.  Click on the “Preliminary Alternatives Newsletter” for details and mapping of the 6 proposed routes.

Please come to these meetings and voice your support for the “No Build Alternative”!  If you are unable to attend the hearings, comments can be submitted online here.  NPS will accept comments on these alternatives August 8- September 7.


And word is getting out:

Opponents of powerline upgrade are happy that project is delayed


Opponents are cheering the news that Public Service Electric and Gas Co.’s transmission line upgrade will be delayed by three years because of problems with environmental permits.

But they are still urging people to comment on the National Park Service’s proposed alternatives to the line, which would span 47 miles in New Jersey. Some of those options would bring the line south into areas of Morris County that are more congested.

The utility had hoped to begin work this summer to add 500-kilovolt lines on towers as high as 195 feet, along its existing 230-kilovolt Susquehanna-Roseland line. It received approval from the state Board of Public Utilities and was awaiting OKs from the state Department of Environmental Protection and NPS.

Last week, PSE&G’s second quarter earnings statement disclosed that the utility would not complete work on the eastern half of the line, from Hopatcong through portions of Morris County to Roseland, until 2014 and on the western section to the Delaware Water Gap until 2015.
Read the rest of this entry »



Yes, indeed, PSEG is making things work for us…

PSEG has announced through its 2Q report that the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line will be delayed until at least 2015.  Just like the Brookings line part of CapX 2020!  Funny how that works.

PSEG – 2nd Quarter – Press Release

Here’s what they said in this about D-E-L-A-Y of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line – two little snippets:

Ralph Izzo indicated that PSE&G has notified the PJM Interconnection that the in-service date for the eastern portion of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line has been delayed by 2 years to 2014 with the in-service date for the western portion of the line delayed until 2015. He added, “We are disappointed by the delay, but look forward to meeting the region’s reliability requirements in partnership with our regulators and PJM.”  The delays are due to on-going environmental permit reviews.

PSE&G notified PJM that it has not obtained certain environmental approvals that are required for completion of the Eastern and Western segments of the Susquehanna – Roseland transmission line. Consequently, at this time, we do not expect the Eastern portion of the line to be in service before June 2014, and we do not expect the Western portion to be in service before June 2015.

You can learn more about the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project at www.stopthelines.com!

Interesting 2Q report, some pretty juicy dry numbers here, look how far down their net income was, and look at how their bottom line recovered — it’s those “excluded items” that make the difference:


As Business Week notes:

PSEG 2Q profit falls 21.5 percent

It’s hard to type that headline without two or three exclamation points!!!

Here’s the report from the Star-Ledger:

PSE&G delays construction of controversial Susquehanna-Roseland power line

Published: Friday, July 30, 2010, 4:14 PM
Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger

Public Service Electric & Gas announced this morning a three-year delay in completing its controversial Susquehanna-Roseland transmission lines, which will cut across New Jersey’s protected, water-rich Highlands.

PSE&G broke the news in its second-quarterly earnings report, explaining that obtaining environmental approvals has taken longer than anticipated. The announcement came just days after the state Department of Environmental Protection found the company’s wetlands permit applications incomplete.

Now, the $750 million power project the company hoped to complete by 2012 will not be done until 2015.

The New Jersey Highlands Coalition and the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, two groups opposed to the project, said it may be the beginning of the end for the power line. But PSE&G said it plans to move forward, contending the power lines are needed to prevent blackouts and keep the region’s power grid reliable.

“We are disappointed by the delay, but we are going to work with the regulators. … We are still committed to constructing the line. It’s just going to be delayed,” said PSE&G spokeswoman Deann Muzikar.

Already approved by the state Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Highlands Council, the project involves a 500,000-volt transmission line along a 146-mile route between Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey and erecting 500-kilovolt transmission towers along a path where smaller, 230-kilovolt towers already exist. The main hurdle has been the National Park Service, which must approve a western leg of the line to run through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

PSE&G split the project into two segments earlier this year, hoping to at least begin construction this summer on an eastern leg between Hopatcong in Sussex County and Roseland in Essex County. But that strategy caused trouble for its wetlands permit reviews by the DEP, which noted the BPU had approved the project in one piece, not in a bifurcated process.

Additionally, the National Park Service has stood firm on its plan to delay action until 2012, as it holds public hearings and considered alternative routes for the line. Three hearings are scheduled for Aug. 17 through Aug. 19 in Pennsylvania and Sussex County.

Environmental groups, contending the project will ruin sensitive land and promote polluting, coal-generated electrical plants in the west, applauded the park service for its careful approach.

“PSE&G has been playing a high-stakes game of chicken with the public and regulators, whom they are now blaming for their not getting their permits on a fast track. This doesn’t surprise us, considering the vast environmental and scenic damage that will be imposed on the Highlands for this risky, ill-conceived, and expensive project,” said Julia Somers of the Highlands Coalition.


Stop the Lines has appealed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities decision approving the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through northern New Jersey.

NJ BPU Order – April 21, 2010

The New Jersey environmental coalition that intervened in this docket, represented by Eastern Environmental Law Center, has appealed too!

This is yet another case of utility wants but NO NEED, and now, they’re trying to build only the eastern section!  Say what?!??!!  That’s not what the BPU approved!


Stop The Lines appeals BPU decision on PSE&G Susquehanna-Roseland power line project

Stop The Lines, a grassroots opposition group, has filed an appeal in the Appellate Division of NJ Superior Court challenging the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) decision to allow Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) to build a massive power line along an existing right-of-way that was not designed to accommodate a line of this magnitude.

“Building 195-foot high towers within a 150-foot wide right-of-way is simply unreasonable,” said David Slaperud, a Stop The Lines trustee. Slaperud said that the proposed line would negatively impact property values, and that a project of this size running through residential areas is detrimental to public health and safety. “The BPU has not adequately addressed these concerns.”

“BPU was asked several times during evidentiary hearings to look at the most recent energy demand data, and they failed to request the additional information,” continued Slaperud. “Instead, they relied solely the word of Mr. Steven Herling, Vice President of Planning, PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM), who stated, ‘We will do the analysis, but we already know what the results will be,’ when questioned during hearings. No facts, just basically a plea to ‘Trust us.’”

Tom Hill, another trustee of Stop The Lines added, “How could the BPU take Mr. Herling at his word, rather than simply looking at the data that is currently available?   Something just doesn’t seem right – while energy demand continues to drop, BPU is willing to take PJM at their word rather than requiring data to back that assumption up.”

Stop The Lines attorney Carol A. Overland strongly agrees.  “This BPU decision comes at a time when any utility infrastructure is suspect.  PJM’s demand has been steadily decreasing since 2006, and recently PSE&G proposed to build only a part of it.  That alone shows we’re not going to be freezing in the dark, the lights won’t go out. Add PJM’s State of the Market Report and the increasingly delayed RTEP, it’s just not plausible that they need this line.  What’s clear is they WANT it, but their business plan and PJM’s marketing plan are not sufficient reasons to put landowners and communities through this transmission hell.”  Overland stated that the proposed new project is far beyond what a demand increase would require. “It’s transmission on steroids at a time when we are in conservation training. The Susquehanna-Roseland Project is going backwards down the wrong path.”

The Stop the Lines appeal will focus on the lack of need for this massively expanded transmission line, and the BPU’s refusal to consider new PJM information showing an decreased demand now or in the foreseeable future; the uncertainty of rate-recovery, which is currently at issue at FERC; health and safety impacts on landowners, residents and the environment; and economic impacts ranging from loss of property value and tax revenue to inability of homeowners to obtain mortgages.

Stop The Lines also fully supports the issues raised by the four Environmental Groups – Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, New Jersey Environmental Federation and the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club – in their appeal of the BPU decision, and will work in collaboration with them throughout the appeal process.


It was one of those weeks.   First CapX 2020 provides official notice that the Brookings-Hampton transmission line is delayed.  [Motion to Suspend Proceedings!]

Hot in the heels of CapX 2020’s notice of “delay” of the Brookings-Hampton transmission line, PSEG provides official notice that it is withdrawing their NJ DEP permit for the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line:

Please take notice in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:A12.6(f). Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is hereby amending the above-referenced permit applications submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). PSE&G is withdrawing the applications for the section of the Project located to the west of the proposed Hopatcong Switching Station. The municipalities west of the Hopatcong Switching Station include Sparta Township, Byram Township, Andover Township, the Town of Newton, Fredon Township, Stillwater Township and Hardwick Township The company may resubmit a new application or applications to NJDEP for the western section of the Project at a later date.

It’s all here in their Notice to affected towns:

PSEG’s Notice of Withdrawal – NJ DEP

And here’s the real deal:

PSEG Amended NJ DEP Permit filed 5/14/10

The funniest part is this — AS IF!!!


We know that they’ve got a problem at the Delaware Water Gap… we know they’ve got a problem at the NJ DEP… Now I wonder… how much of the Pennsylvania part is withdrawn???

Just like the CapX 2020 transmission project, the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project was approved as a whole, the studies used to justify it were on the project as a whole, the BPU decision approving the project was on the project as a whole… so what, now they can say they just don’t need that part???  I don’t think so…