Pepco seeks to build Va.-to-N.J. power line

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 16, 2006|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON -- Pepco Holdings Inc., owner of utilities in Washington and four states, sought approval yesterday to build a $1.2 billion high-voltage power line from Northern Virginia to New Jersey to meet growing demand in the largest U.S. power market.

The proposal for the 230-mile, 500 kilovolt-line was filed with PJM Interconnection LLC, which runs the power market and grid in the District of Columbia and all or parts of 13 states including Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey.

Pepco's proposal is the third this year for an interstate power line in PJM after enactment of a federal law aimed at speeding approval of such projects and lowering regulatory costs.

American Electric Power Co. and Allegheny Energy Inc. have proposed lines that would carry power from West Virginia to the East Coast, linking less costly coal-fired generating plants to urban areas.

"This is the first proposal for a new line that would carry power south to north," said Pepco spokesman Robert Dobkin. "Virginia just joined PJM last year, and this would offer access to lower-cost power ... " According to a diagram provided by Pepco, the power line would cross the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River south of Washington, where Pepco is based.

The project would initially connect plants of Dominion Resources Inc., Virginia's largest utility, with those owned by Constellation Energy, which is headquartered in Baltimore.

The line would be built over four years, beginning in 2010. The final phase of construction, in 2014, would cross the Delaware River to New Jersey.

American Electric in January proposed a $3 billion 765-kilovolt transmission line from West Virginia to New Jersey. The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, owns the largest number of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

Allegheny in February proposed a $1.4 million 500-kilovolt line from West Virginia to Central Maryland. Allegheny moved its headquarters in Hagerstown to Greensburg, Pa., in 2004.

Shares of Pepco rose 2 cents to close at $22.63 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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