Posted on July 9, 2008 in by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

These were questions posed to PPL that we have received specific answers back for.  If you have any written or emailed questions with PPL’s answers and would like to post them, please let us know!

What would be the height of the new structures?
The new structures would be between 175 and 195 feet, depending on the terrain and other factors.
Where is the power going? It will not benefit Moore Township as most are Met-Ed customers.
Power in this part of the PJM Interconnection – our regional power pool – generally flows from west to east, although the reverse could also occur in an emergency. That said, all residents of Moore Township and other areas of eastern Pennsylvania will benefit from the Susquehanna to Roseland line because it will help to maintain reliability of the bulk power electric grid. Overloads on the grid – even if they are not in this area – can cause reliability problems and even blackouts across the region, as we saw in the blackout of 2003 when power line failures in Ohio led to blackouts as far away as New York City.
Did PPL Electric Utilities consider the new Pennsylvania legislation signed in June 2008 for protection of the Appalachian Trail, since Route C would run parallel to the trail for six miles?
We are aware of this legislation and, although we are not required to meet its standards in this case, we do try to meet the intent of such statutes to the extent possible. We realize that the Appalachian Trail is a precious resource, and minimizing impacts on the trail was one of the criteria that we attempted to meet during our siting process. Unfortunately, there were no routes that avoided the trail entirely. 
Can the geology handle the tower loads?
Yes, PPL Electric Utilities has successfully constructed large bulk power structures in similar geological areas.
What is the policy for distances from houses and condemnation? Can houses be taken?
By law, PPL Electric Utilities cannot condemn a cemetery, a place of worship, or a home and the reasonable curtilage around that home out to a distance of 100 meters, or the property line, whichever is less.
Isn’t the line in the flight path of the Lehigh Valley International Airport?
At its closest point, Route C is about 8.8 miles northwest of Runway 31 at LVIA. Interference with airline operations would not be expected due to the distance from the airport. If Route C is selected as the proposed route, PPL Electric Utilities will make appropriate filings with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aviation to corroborate this expectation.
Are the maps you posted on your Web site current?  Some parts seem outdated.
The maps come from a variety of sources, some of which have been updated very recently and others that are not as recent. The information used to help identify cemeteries, churches and schools is probably the least current. This information comes from the U.S. Geological Service topographic maps. Nevertheless, this information is still useful to us in identifying many features.
It’s important to understand that these maps are only a supplement to the field work that provides the most important siting information. We personally visit the publicly accessible places along the proposed routes and update our notes and files accordingly. Through this field work, we have identified features not included on the maps and are using a combination of the existing data and our field data to help make our final decision. We also use public input to verify and update our map information.
PJM indicated that there will be future power line projects from Ohio. What are the details?
We checked further with PJM and, while there is a possibility of future power line projects from Ohio to Pennsylvania, no final decisions regarding those projects have been made at this time.
What about the effect of herbicide spraying on streams and wells?
Herbicides are selectively applied only to vegetation that will grow large enough to interfere with overhead power lines. This spraying is done by hand, on the ground, by workers certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and done in accordance with label directions. These herbicides are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on utility rights of way.
How will this power line affect electricity prices?
The cost of this line will be shared by all 51 million people in the PJM region, which includes 13 states and the District of Columbia. The average customer of PPL Electric Utilities could see a cost increase of between 30 cents and 50 cents per month to the transmission portion of his or her bill. Customers of other electric delivery companies will see slightly different charges.
When the Susquehanna-Roseland power line is complete, along with the completion of two other power lines bringing electricity into the state from the west, the net effect will be a reduction in wholesale electric prices in this area of Pennsylvania.
Will you have another meeting where questions would be submitted to PPL Electric Utilities in advance?
We have had two public workshops in Northampton County with more than 600 residents attending. The second workshop on June 26 included a question-and-answer session with 100 to 200 residents. Additionally, we have received many comments from Northampton County residents on our toll-free comment line, and by e-mail through the project Web site, www.pplreliablepower.com.
We will respond to additional questions that we receive and incorporate any additional input into our decision. At this time, the issues of concern in this area are clear to us. We believe we have a thorough understanding of the issues in this area so no further meetings are planned at this time. We will hold additional open house meetings, and there will be PUC meetings along the route that ultimately is chosen for this project.
We are very concerned that thousands of trees would be cut down during the course of this project.
Only those trees that grow tall enough to interfere with power lines would be affected. This is necessary in order to preserve the reliability of the power grid. Lower-growing trees and shrubs are allowed to remain in the power line right of way.
If PPL Electric Utilities cuts trees that are outside the right of way but could hit the lines if they fall, are property owners compensated?
We try to avoid impacting vegetation that is identified by the property owner as desirable whenever we can. However, there can be situations in which trees on adjacent property must be trimmed or removed in order to ensure safety and reliability. This is a relatively rare circumstance, and no monetary compensation is provided in these cases.
What about erosion during construction?
We are committed to ensuring that there are no negative impacts due to erosion from this project. We will acquire all necessary permits from applicable agencies and comply with those permits.
What about health issues from electric and magnetic fields?
The large body of evidence from national and international studies does not demonstrate that electric and magnetic fields are harmful to human health. Despite these findings, PPL Electric Utilities takes a reasoned approach by including measures — such as wire arrangements and taller poles — to reduce EMFs from new power lines. In some areas of this project where power lines currently exist, EMFs would actually go down as a result of this project.
Will PPL Electric Utilities pick the route that is the cheapest or provides the best financial advantage?
We consider cost as one factor in our decision in order to minimize, to the extent possible, impacts on the rates of all customers in PJM. However, there are many other factors that will be considered before this decision is made. They include input from the public along the proposed routes, environmental factors and technical feasibility.
Who are the property owners whose homes are close to Route C?
Because of privacy issues, we can’t disclose the names of individual property owners, but each of these people has received a letter from us describing our plans and the potential for a line along Route C.
Are there any implications of the Patriot Act?
We are not aware of any.
Will PPL Electric Utilities use the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor process to gain approval for this project?
PPL Electric Utilities expects to continue our history of working successfully with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on approval of the siting of transmission line projects. At this time, we don’t envision federal involvement in the siting of this line.
How would you compensate property owners from whom you need additional right of way? How about those adjacent to the right of way?
About 92 percent of Route C in Pennsylvania uses existing or future right of way owned by PPL Electric Utilities. Compensation for right of way that PPL Electric Utilities does not currently own will be at fair market value of the land in the area, adjusted for easement rights and the location of the easement on the property. If we choose Route C, we would not need to acquire additional right of way in Northampton County. There is no compensation for homeowners adjacent to the right of way. 
What will PPL Electric Utilities do with the existing right of way if Route C is not selected?
There are no current plans for the right of way we own along Route C if this route is not chosen for the Susquehanna-Roseland power line project. This is not to say that there will never be transmission lines that would use Route C right of way in the future. 
What if there are certain conditions on existing right of way agreements?
We will honor those agreements
Why start at Berwick instead of Martins Creek?
Beginning this power line at Martins Creek would not meet the requirements identified by PJM.
Didn’t PJM indicate that Bossards Alternative C was the best route?
No. The Bossards alternative PJM originally reviewed only considered a line from Bossards to Roseland; it did not include the line section to Susquehanna. This alternative would not offer the same regional benefits as a line from Susquehanna to Roseland.
How are you addressing the effect on hawk migration and other issues with sensitive or endangered species along Blue Mountain?
Hawk and other bird habitat and migration issues — as well as potential impacts on rare, threatened and endangered species that reside or otherwise use habitat along Blue Mountain — would be carefully evaluated in association with federal and state agencies, as well as local conservation organizations and those with specific knowledge of resources in the Blue Mountain area.
We are consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. These agencies are responsible for ensuring the protection of any protected species and species of concern, and will provide PPL Electric Utilities with more information about the locations of such resources and methods that can be used to protect them in the Blue Mountain area and elsewhere throughout the project.
PPL would continue to work closely with these agencies and groups through the planning, design, construction and operation of the project to ensure that impacts are minimized.
If studies indicate that potential resources could be affected, measures will be developed to minimize impacts to the extent practicable, such as avoiding construction of tower structures and any needed access roads during certain times of the year, using special vegetation management methods and schedules, and employing various other best management practices.
In addition, federal and state permits that will be required for the project will contain specific protection methods as appropriate as conditions of the permits.
Will you post your answers on our project blog?
We will be happy to provide an electronic copy of this response for posting.