Pact To Prevent Annapolis Neck Brownouts

February 04, 1992|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff writer

The City of Annapolis, embroiled in a legal battle with Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. over expanding an electric substation, has negotiated an agreement to avoid brownouts on the Annapolis Neck Peninsula.

Alderman Wayne C. Turner, the Ward 6 Republican who led last year's fight against upgrading the Tyler Avenue substation, said he hopes the agreement will reassure residents worried about power failure.

In a Jan. 20 letter of intent, BG&E officials promised to installa second power line and two backup cables under Spa Creek to relievepressure on the Tyler Avenue and Cedar Hill substations.

"This will stop any possibility of brownouts," Turner said yesterday, adding that he was pleased by the compromise reached after months of aggravating talks.

At the same time, the alderman complained that he's become increasingly frustrated with BG &TE and compared the negotiations to "a chess game."

"Whatever they tell me, I have to go back andresearch," he said.

BG & E officials warned yesterday that the new power lines are a stopgap measure to cope with the demand in the rapidly growing Annapolis Neck area.

Last spring, the utility proposed installing a second transformer at the substation on Tyler Avenue.The $3 million expansion was snagged by neighborhood concern over the electromagnetic fields produced by power lines, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

BG & E sued the city in Augustafter the council rejected the expansion. A hearing on the lawsuit, which claims the aldermen based their decision on unproven fears in cancer studies that were not part of the public testimony, is expectedsometime next month.

Meanwhile, the utility has promised to run a13,800-volt cable under Spa Creek to ease the burden on the Tyler Avenue substation, which already operates near capacity. Two backup submarine cables also will be installed.

The work is scheduled to begin after June 17, due to environmental regulations to protect spawning fish, said Kent J. Davis, the project supervisor.

"This will buyus some time as we go through the court process," he said.

Without the new power line, he said, the Annapolis Neck area was in danger of brownouts on very cold and very hot days.

The utility initiallywanted to string a second 34,500-volt cable under Spa Creek, but Turner and other opponents fought the proposal, worried that it would just lead to enlarging the Tyler Avenue substation. Turner and the utility eventually hammered out an agreement to install that line and a second 13,800-volt cable, both to be used as a backup supply.

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