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BPU delays decision on power line
 

By SETH AUGENSTEIN

saugenstein@njherald.com

The state's Board of Public Utilities is delaying its decision on the proposed Susquehanna-Roseland power line while it factors in the withdrawal of a similar power line proposal in Virginia.

The board was slated to decide on the New Jersey half of the power line on Jan. 15. However, the board pushed back the decision date, after opponents filed last-minute paperwork about Virginia's proposed PATH.

The new evidence cites predicted decreases for regional energy needs delaying another regional power transmission project. Specifically, the Susquehanna-Roseland opponents are now citing recent setbacks for similar "reliability projects," due to reports that power demands are down, and the need for power transmission lines is declining, the opponents say.

In late December, the PATH Allegheny Virginia Transmission Corp. moved to withdraw its 276-mile, $1.8 billion high-voltage transmission line proposal which would run through West Virginia and Virginia. The company says it will resubmit the plans in the fall. The reported reasons are the decreased demand during the recession and energy conservation.

The developments in Virginia could now factor into the Garden State decision. BPU Commissioner Joseph Fiordaliso wrote a letter Wednesday to all the involved parties announcing that the recent PATH request would be factored into the evidence for the Susquehanna-Roseland line. Fiordaliso set a deadline of Jan. 15 for the lawyers in the case to contest the new evidence, or otherwise comment on how it should factor into the pending decision.

Catherine Tamasik, the attorney for a seven-town coalition opposing the lines, said it could be a positive development for her clients -- but it was too early to tell what the new evidence inclusion could mean.

"The BPU is certainly aware of the changing energy environment, and they're going to take a look at it," she said Friday.

Created: 1/8/2010 | Updated: 1/8/2010

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