Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of new transmission line in Geauga and Lake counties

Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of new transmission line in Geauga and Lake counties

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Nov. 24, 2008) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today authorized the construction of a 138 kilovolt electric transmission line in Geauga and Lake counties. The line will be owned and operated by American Transmission Systems, Inc. (ATSI) and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI).

The 14.7-mile long transmission line will run east of State Route 528 through Huntsburg, Montville and Thompson townships in northeast Geauga County and into Madison Township in southern Lake County. The companies plan to complete construction of the line and have it in service by summer 2010.

On Sept. 28, 2007, ATSI and CEI filed an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to construct the transmission line. In their application, the companies cited a need to provide additional electric capacity and reliability for CEI customers in the area due to commercial and residential growth. The application proposed the preferred route near SR 528 and an alternate route parallel to Clay Street.

Several parties formally intervened in the Board’s proceedings, including Citizens Advocating Responsible Energy, the Geauga Park District, the city of Chardon, the village of Orwell, and Industrial Energy Users-Ohio.

On Aug. 12, 2008, following review of the companies’ application, OPSB staff filed a report recommending that the Board authorize construction of the transmission line along the preferred route. The staff also recommended 43 specific conditions that the company must meet to remediate the environmental and socioeconomic impacts presented by the project.

At three local public hearings held during August and September 2008, 75 public witnesses testified about the proposed line. Citizens also contacted the Board by mail. Some public opinion was opposed to the project due to concerns with aesthetics and impacts to local farmland, wildlife and property values. Others testified in support of the project, including business owners concerned with poor electric service and reliability and the potential impact on operations.

The Board evaluated the companies’ application and the comments and testimony of the public and interveners, and concluded that a certificate should be granted authorizing construction along the preferred route. Construction is subject to the 43 conditions recommended by the OPSB staff.

The OPSB reviews applications for construction of large electric and natural gas facilities in Ohio. The 11-member board is comprised of representatives of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the state departments of Development, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Health, the Ohio General Assembly, and the public. The Chairman of the PUCO also chairs the OPSB.

Additional information regarding this project is available on the OPSB Web site at www.OPSB.ohio.gov.