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March 1, 2013

High-voltage line may go through eastern Fauquier

Map/Dominion Power
Although it seeks alternatives, Dominion has proposed two options. “A” would include a new line — through the light blue tint block east of Warrenton — to Gainesville.
The bottom line is, one of these two things is gonna happen, so why not work with them to find the solution with the least impact.
— Lee Sherbeyn, Cedar Run District supervisor
On the web
Dominion has created a website for the project.

The site will include all of the "Community Advisory Committee" work and research over the next eight months in a “transparent” process, company representatives promise.


• Mid-March:
Invite people to join committee.

• April-October: Committee meetings and "open house" events.

• Late 2013: Dominion submits application to State Corporation Commission.

• May 2017: Construction finished.
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Construction of a new high-voltage transmission line through eastern Fauquier would address “electric reliability concerns” in the region, Dominion Power representatives announced this week.

Virginia’s dominant electric company gave a series of briefings to Fauquier and Prince William County government officials, environmental organizations and media Thursday on plans to upgrade the regional grid.

Representatives unveiled two options but said Dominion will use a “Community Advisory Group” to explore those and potential alternatives.

“Option A” calls for a new line from the Warrenton substation, near the fairgrounds on Old Auburn Road, northeast to the Wheeler Substation, just across the Prince William line near Vint Hill.

It would cost an estimated $75 million.

“Option B” calls for 105-foot poles and upgraded lines from Remington to Warrenton. Costing approximately $95 million, that option also would upgrade lines outside of Fauquier.

The poles would stand 25 feet taller than the existing structures in the 12-mile corridor.

“They’re very different options; there is really no right answer,” Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said. “That’s what we want to engage the community about.”

The company will convene a committee of about 20 community representatives to investigate options in public meetings, said Ms. Anderson, promising a “transparent” process.

Appointed in March, the committee will meet April through October to make recommendations, which Dominion could accept or reject.

Dominion will submit its application to the State Corporation Commission late this year.

Even with the utility’s new process of using an advisory committee, any proposal to build a transmission line will generate opposition.

A five-member team from Dominion and NOVEC, with thousands of customers in the affected area, briefed Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council staff members Thursday. PEC vigorously scrutinizes major electrical projects in its nine-county region.

Already, PEC Senior Energy Policy Analyst Rob Marmet has concerns.

The two options Dominion offered represent “two different things that they’re combining into one project,” Mr. Marmet said. “They’re not talking about a single route.”

The options would affect “three discrete groups” in Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William, he suggested. “I feel like it will be . . . pitting one community against another.”

The options should stand as separate projects, according to Mr. Marmet, a lawyer who has worked about six years for PEC.

“The bottom line is, one of these two things is gonna happen, so why not work with them to find the solution with the least impact,” said Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn (Cedar Run District), who represents much of the affected area.

Dominion asked him to help identify people to serve on the advisory committee, Mr. Sherbeyn said.

The utility wants a cross-section of the community, including representatives of business, environmental and homeowners’ groups, Ms. Anderson said.

Dominion has used the process twice before, near Charlottesville and Dahlgren, she said.

Mr. Marmet represented PEC on the advisory committee in the Charlottesville case.

“I thought the process . . . was a good one,” he said.

Mr. Marmet said, however, that he expects to testify before the SCC against the new proposal and thus would not serve on the advisory committee this time. But, that might not preclude PEC representation on the group, he added.

In its community presentations Thursday, Dominion cited “three local reliability concerns” it seeks to address:

• “The load on the existing Warrenton line (from Remington) is forecasted to exceed 100 megawatts in 2017.”

• “The load on NOVEC’s existing Wheeler line already exceeds 100 megawatts.”

• “An outage of the Gainesville substation will result in the loss of more than 300 megawatts or 75,000 customers.”

Dominion contends it needs the transmission line improvements to provide more options for handling “the distribution load” and to meet regulatory standards.

Even with more efficient appliances, electricity demand in the region continues to grow, Ms. Anderson and NOVEC spokeswoman Priscilla Knight said Thursday.

Conservation efforts alone won’t address the growing need to upgrade the transmission system, they said.

But, the PEC’s Marmet said Dominion “does a good job” maintaining its transportation network and outages happen only in the “distribution system” because of storm damage or vehicle accidents.

“One of the things you always have to look at . . . is to test their assumptions,” he said. “They’re run by engineers, and engineers want to build things . . . . But, we’re all gonna pay for this, whether in terms of environmental impact or our utility bills.”

Mr. Sherbeyn called Dominion representatives “great people to work with.”

About seven years ago, the company installed 120-foot towers for a transmission line across his farm east of Morrisville, the Cedar Run District supervisor said.

He predicted the proposed Warrenton-to-Gainesville line also would cross farmland, avoiding Fauquier’s concentration of subdivisions along the Route 605 corridor.
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farmbum · March 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm
Gotta love Dominion. Fauquier already looks like a transit conduit, yet here comes more.

Go over to South Western Fauquier and see the "upgrades" to existing towers that Dominion did. They ran parallel towers 60 feet higher than what was there, then took the originals down and up went the "upgrades".
So, two towers, more than double the capacity, and for Fauquier?

No my fellow citizens, these upgrades are NOT in our counties interest. There is no working with Dominion, in the end, they get exactly what they want, regardless.
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