Mar. 14—IAEGER — Power lines stretching from West Virginia into Virginia are being upgraded, so the public will have an opportunity this April to hear from Appalachian Power officials about the scheduled improvements and ask questions about how the project could impact their property.
Appalachian Power representatives are upgrading the transmission system in McDowell County and Buchanan County, Va., as part of the Sourwood-Hales Branch Transmission Line Rebuild Project, the power company announced Monday.
The project team plans to host two open houses in April for the community to learn more about electric upgrades in their community and provide input.
The project involves rebuilding about 11 miles of 138-kilovolt electric transmission line. The upgrades begin at the Sourwood Substation in Iaeger, a town in McDowell County and end at the Hales Branch Substation in Grundy, Va., Appalachian Power officials said.
This power line has experienced multiple outages since 2015. These improvements are necessary to ensure reliable electric service to customers and maintain safety of the power line and the area's power grid, company officials stated.
"The existing transmission line was built with wooden poles and is showing age-related wear," said George Porter, Appalachian Power spokesperson. "It's important to upgrade this equipment with modern steel poles and structures to meet current electric safety standards and improve reliable electric service in the area."
The project team is seeking community input on route options at select areas along the power line route to rebuild the line. Though most of the line will be rebuilt in place, there are deviations where a new right-of-way will be needed.
Landowners and residents of the communities are being invited to attend an open house to learn more about the upgrades and provide input. There is no formal presentation, so attendees may come and go at any time during the two-hour events at the location that is most convenient to them, Appalachian Power officials said.
Open houses will take place on the following dates and locations:
—5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at Mount View High School cafeteria, 950 Mount View Road in Welch.
—5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, Twin Valley High School gymnasium, 14449 Dismal River Road in Pilgrim Knob, Va.
Residents who are unable to attend either of the open houses can visit the project website and virtual open house at AppalachianPower.com/Sourwood-HalesBranch.
Affected landowners can expect to receive a packet in the mail that includes additional project details and a comment card they can return with their feedback, power company officials said. The project team plans to use input from the community and additional field work to determine a power line route that reduces impact on the community and environment.
The project team is seeking local approval from Buchanan County and state approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) for the transmission line upgrades, company officials said. Appalachian Power representatives plan to file an application with the PSC requesting approval this fall. If the project is approved, the company expects construction to begin summer 2025 and conclude by the end of 2027.
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