Stop wasting my money on the Transource Independence Energy Connection!
I know it's hard to admit when you've screwed up (and PJM screws up A LOT!), but with the abandonment incentive granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission it also means that your screw up is costing me money. Real money. Dollars and cents added to my electric bill that provide absolutely no benefit to me. Because Transource was guaranteed the ability to file to collect all its sunk costs in the event the IEC is abandoned, it doesn't cost Transource anything to continue this farce. In fact, the longer they continue, the more money they can stuff into their capital cost accounts, and then apply to be paid back over 5 or 10 years with an 10.4% interest rate. They're also in a hurry to do it now because their debt to equity ratio will change in 2020 and later investments won't be quite as lucrative. As well, any capital costs over $210M will only earn at 9.9%. It's a spending free-for-all right now as Transource tries to spend as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Transource predicts it will spend $5.2M of capital in 2018, even though it doesn't plan to even stick a shovel in the ground until 2019. That's nearly half a million dollars of pure profit this year! Transource also estimates that it will spend another $1.6M on operations and maintenance in 2018. The only thing that can stop this out-of-control spending of my money is the cancellation of the IEC.
And we all know that's where we're headed with this thing, right PJM? The "bats" that you saw as the only impediment on your "constructability report" are revolting!
They've formed StopTransource bat groups.
The PUC should question if the applicant has fully evaluated the use of existing transmission lines in Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM's) regional planning process before proposing a new line, which will be constructed parallel to three established high-voltage transmission power lines operating in York County. Since the intention of the applicant is to relieve congestion on the energy-grid, why not utilize transmission lines that are not operating at
full capacity? I strongly encourage the Administrative Law Judge to modify this application to use these existing transmission lines, thereby minimizing the impact of this project on the community and preserved open space, as well as protecting private landowners from being subject to the oppressive use of eminent domain actions when other utility-owned infrastructure
I'm not buying your story that the existing lines aren't big enough to build your project. They're brand new and are only half-utilized. In addition, there's an existing corridor that's de-energized. With all this at your disposal, PJM, why did you select a project built on greenfield right of way? Is it because, Transource, as a new entry to your market (well, sorta, heh, heh, heh, AEP has been a member since, like 2002, right?) doesn't own any existing right of way or assets and therefore cannot upgrade something it doesn't own? How does that save consumers money? I thought saving consumers money was the whole purpose of this project? Or is it now more about actually getting your first competitive market efficiency project built, and not about saving consumers money? I think it would be much, much cheaper for me if you ordered the owners of the two existing, half-utilized lines running parallel to the proposed IEC to each build one of the two 230kV circuits you say you need. And don't give me any of that "reliability" nonsense about having too many circuits on one pole. It's no different that your current proposal to double circuit the IEC on one set of poles.
Meanwhile, the important bats of the community are opposing the project. L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation writes:
PJM/Transource has managed to unite virtually every constituent group in Franklin County in opposition to the project.
...neither PJM or its surrogate, Transource, has been able to establish a quantified need for the project; more importantly, they have never been able to articulate the benefits to Franklin County.
Finally, it is worth noting that the FCADC has not received a single call, email, or letter from a Franklin County business voicing support for the project. (As an aside, one should be aware that Transource simply assumed that because the FCADC is involved in economic development that we would automatically support the project. We all know the definition of assume.)
Transource officials believe the project would alleviate congestion in the high voltage grid and would create an economic benefit locally. Abby Foster, community affairs representative with Transource, released a statement saying in part:
"The project will bring investment in the region’s local economies during the construction phase with a direct investment in the project area communities. Construction activities alone are projected to support 112-147 full-time jobs with 50-60 of these being in Franklin County."
I think Abby should spend her time improving Transource's website instead. Perhaps she can find the missing number that belongs here.
Or how about this. Maybe Abby can figure out how to spell "publicly?"
Why is this project needed? Through its regional transmission expansion planning, PJM identified concerns with the delivery of electricity on the high-voltage grid into the region.
You're ridiculous, PJM. The IEC project is never going to happen. There's too much opposition and the communities threatened know the truth about the project. You know what happens in rural communities in times of trouble? They gather together and defend their community. There's a lot you don't know about "undeveloped spaces," PJM. Some land is "undeveloped" on purpose because its highest and best use is being undeveloped.
It's time to admit this project isn't really needed. How many former PJM projects have been cancelled without being built? How many millions of dollars have those projects cost ratepayers like me because PJM didn't want to admit its process is flawed and its projections wrong?
Stop wasting my money, PJM. Cancel the IEC project. Now.