According to PATH’s Web site, the power line’s proposed route would reach about 20 miles into Maryland, after crossing 13 counties in West Virginia and three in Virginia. The project is a joint venture between American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy.
But the Maryland PSC announced Wednesday that it would not approve PATH’s application because PATH isn’t an “electric company.”
Maryland law only allows certificates of need to be issued to electric companies, and PATH does not qualify as one. Also, the application was filed by Potomac Edison, an Allegheny Energy subsidiary, and the PSC said they weren’t eligible because Potomac wasn’t going to be overseeing the line’s construction.
Donna Printz is a resident of Berkeley County and a member of West Virginia Citizens Against PATH.
“I think at a minimum PATH will be slowed down by several months in Maryland,” she said. “And I guess it remains to be seen how much this will impact PATH plans overall.”
PATH is allowed to resubmit their application in Maryland. In a press release, Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power say they’re still committed to having the project running by 2014.
According to current plans, PATH will start at the John Amos power plant in Putnam County and will end at a proposed 50-acre substation in Kemptown, Maryland.
Allen Staggers, a spokesman for Allegheny Energy, says there’s a reason for the substation to be in Kemptown.
“That specific reason is that’s an area where the path line will intersect with existing transmission lines belonging to Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric,” he said. “So there’s a strategic and electrical reason for that substation to be located where it is.”
Staggers says Allegheny is working on their response to the PSC’s order, but he doesn’t want to speculate about the future of the project if one state doesn’t approve the project.
But power line opponents in West Virginia, like Printz, hope this hiccup is big enough to stop the whole project.
“I certainly think it’s a victory, maybe a temporary one, for Maryland, but I also think it’s encouraging for West Virginia,” Printz said. “I’m just sorry that West Virginia doesn’t have the same law about how electric companies are the only ones who can apply for certificates of need.”
The West Virginia Public Service Commission will be holding public meetings this month and next on PATH.