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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN --08/26/2013-- Benton County land owners Cris CQ and Elenor Jones, left, examine a map of a proposed SWEPCO power line route which cuts through their property as Glenn Crenshaw, a distressed property expert from Eureka Springs and Jonathan Wiltsie, a SWEPCO sub-contractor, right, discuss property lines in Carroll County during a hearing about the power line construction project at the Public Service Commission in Little Rock on Monday. - Photo by Benjamin Krain

Opponents of a 50-milelong high-voltage transmission line across part of Northwest Arkansas have called the project’s applicant “greedy, idiotic, incompetent, unethical, immoral, rapists, even monkeys,” said David Matthews of Rogers, the attorney representing Southwestern Electric Power Co.

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Arkansas, Pages 9 on 08/27/2013

Print Headline: Power line hearing opens in Little Rock

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  • mpeine08272056
    August 27, 2013 at 10:14 p.m.

    We in the Ozarks are not NIMBY people. What we have come to understand is that these for-profit utility companies build out EHV transmission lines to the detriment of the existing grid and our environment. Fact is, these EHV transmission lines are overkill to the nth degree as a means to address "increased" demand.

    Modernization and repair of our grid doesn't equate with extra high voltage lines (EHV). Modernization and repair of our grid costs a third of what new EHV transmission costs. Modernization and repair of our grid would in fact increase its reliability and security, while EHV transmission lines will not. What do you think happens when you connect a new long-distance EHV transmission line into a fragile grid? You get larger cascading power outages when problems occur.

    Last week on August 16, there was an article in the NY Times, "As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow" by Matthew L. Wald. In it he describes the utilities' spin:

    "The utilities play down their abilities, in comparison with the government’s. 'They have the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies,' said Scott Aaronson, ...at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. 'We have the grid operations expertise.'"

    Why are the utilities claiming security ignorance? Because they know these EHV transmission lines they are forcing on ratepayers will not pass the test.

    Wald goes on to describe the real problem: "Another problem is that the electric system is so tightly integrated that a collapse in one spot, whether by error or intent, can set off a cascade, as happened in August 2003, when a power failure took a few moments to spread from Detroit to New York."

    I also encourage you to look at the parent company of SWEPCO, AEP's Earnings Call Transcripts at the MorningStar/Earnings website; especially the Q&A section. In these transcripts, president and CEO Nick Akins of AEP talks about expansion transmission capacity as "no regrets." He calls them "steel in the ground" projects, and states he wants to move as much capital to them as possible. He also talks about "favorable" weather, but not what you or I would call favorable. Nick says there is nothing wrong with praying for extreme blizzards and heat-waves. He wants electrification to out-pace efficiency gains.

    I'm not yelling and I certainly don't intend to assault anyone, but there is overwhelming evidence that AEP-SWEPCO's greed, if left unchecked, will continue to cause unnecessary and irreparable destruction at ratepayers' expense. There is plenty of evidence to indicate idiocy and incompetence as well. If these truthful comments hurt AEP-SWEPCO's billion dollar feelings, that's what I would call appropriate shame. But AEP-SWEPCO can still do the RIGHT thing and withdraw this proposal. I never heard the monkey comment.

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