|"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." - Gandhi
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Updated: September 14th, 2012
PATH is officially dead! – No longer suspended!
The Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) is finally and officially dead!
PJM, the regional authority for transmission, announced on Monday that the PJM Board during a phone conference Friday decided to remove the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) and Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) lines from PJM’s regional transmission plans, based on the PJM staff’s recommendations.
This is a wonderful example of how citizen activists can make a difference even fighting a large corporation with money, lawyers and political connections!
Some said “Resistance is futile!”
Citizens armed with facts, energy, and determination can stop projects that are unnecessary.
Citizen Activism Saves Electric Ratepayers Millions
The Board of Managers of PJM, the regional grid manager announced the
cancelation of the PATH project today. After five years claiming the project was
essential for the reliability of the electric grid and lights would go out if PATH was not
constructed; they finally acknowledged their forecasts were inaccurate and accepted
the fact that less costly solutions will resolve any reliability concerns.
Sugarloaf Conservancy was formed in August 2008, in response to the
announcement of PATH, not initially opposing the project but only asking for
investigation of alternative technologies. In August 2009, after extensive research
including PJM and Department of Energy forecasts we then opposed the project as it
became clear to us there was no need.
This project was driven by a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rate
guarantee of 14.3% granted in early 2008. In February 2011, after being forced in
the Virginia PATH case to admit lack of need, PJM acknowledged they could not
justify the line, but they refused to abandon PATH. They chose instead to place the
project in abeyance, hoping to justify it sometime in the future.
Five years after announcing the project, with countless hours and money spent by
citizens in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, the project has been abandoned.
Citizens should never be subject to confiscation of their property by Eminent
Domain, solely to generate profits for electric companies. Before an application to
build a new transmission line is accepted by the Maryland Public Service
Commission, they should be required to prove there is a need and examine whether
it could be solved by an alternative such as: rebuilding outdated lines (Mt. Storm-
Doubs rebuild will increase transfer capacity by 66%), the placement of capacitor
banks or the construction of a local power plant.
The PATH project was estimated to cost over 2.1 billion dollars. The expenses
incurred by PATH to date of 130 million dollars will result in ratepayers paying
millions of dollars in principal and interest every year for the next 40-50 years, as
FERC has guaranteed PATH recovery of its stranded investment upon the project’s
abandonment. If PATH had been constructed, ratepayers would have had to pay
even more in their electric bills for an unneeded line! This project was not about the
need for electricity, but the profits of American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy,
now known as First Energy since the February 2011 corporate merger.
Citizen Activism is not futile, but imperative!
Frederick News Post - PJM Staff to push elimination of PATH project
August 10, 2012
PJM Finally Admits PATH is not Needed
PJM (Transmission Regional Authority) Staff presented to their Technical
Engineering Advisory Committee (TEAC) today their recommendation to
cancel the PATH project. This recommendation will be presented to
PJM’s Board of managers on August 24th.
After five years of claiming the project was essential for the reliability of
the electric grid and lights would go out if PATH was not constructed; PJM
has finally acknowledged their forecasts were inaccurate and thus,
accepted the fact that less costly solutions will resolve any reliability
This project was not about the need for electricity, but the profits of
American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy, now known as First
Energy since the February 2011 corporate merger. This project was
driven by a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rate
guarantee of 14.3% granted in early 2008. In February 2011, after being
forced in the Virginia PATH case to admit lack of need, PJM
acknowledged they could not justify the line, but they refused to terminate
PATH. They chose instead to place the project in abeyance, hoping to
justify it sometime in the future.
As stated in a letter Sugarloaf Conservancy sent to the Board of
Managers on July 2, 2012
The time has come for PJM and the utility companies to accept the reality
that PATH is not needed in the foreseeable future and the likelihood that
it will ever be needed is so remote that the project status should change
from abeyance to abandoned or cancelled. Energy and funding should
instead be funneled to rebuilding outdated lines to reinforce the grid.
The Board of Managers of PJM at their August 24th meeting needs to
accept the recommendation of their staff once and for all terminate the
On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, the Frederick County Planning Commission voted to send an addition to the Frederick County Ordinance to the County Commissioners for approval, stipulating that electric substations with lines of 500 kv or larger can only be sited on land zoned INDUSTRIAL (still by special exception). CAKES and Sugarloaf Conservancy both testified in favor of the ordinance which should insure that the proposed property for the PATH substation will not be used for that purpose – ever!
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - Edward Everett Hale (1822 - 1909)