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The Arkansas Public Service Commission will reconsider whether a high-voltage power line is needed through Benton and Carroll counties and, if so, decide on the best route.

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Print Headline: State to rehear requests on SWEPCO power-line route


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Archived Comments

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 1:14 p.m.

    Why would anyone attempt to dig 330 foundations on fragile steep karst terrain, knowing groundwater contamination cleanup is impossible and remediation takes decades and in many cases does not work? The Ozarks karst topography will not change with SPP electric power studies.

    Why did SWEPCO ignore the expert advice of karst geologists and hydrologists and trust the layman opinion of a biologist, an electrical engineer, and a civil engineer with only two years of experience and no construction experience in the target area for the routes?

    With ample resources to choose the best karst hydro-geologist in the world, why did SWEPCO choose an inexperienced civil engineer as their Karst Expert Witness? If you had a deadly brain tumor, would you have an urologist attempt to remove it?

    Transmission line constructability was excluded from the EIS by Burns & McDonell to favor SWEPCO’s preferred route. This was an irresponsible and reprehensible engineering decision, pretending a transmission line with 150-foot monopole towers and 50 miles of conductors operating in extreme weather conditions for at least 36 years on fragile karst would be safe!

    On February 2014, the NC Dan River was contaminated because Duke Energy chose to store coal-ash on ponds by the river. Duke Energy wants ratepayers to cleanup the $10 Billion mess.

    Who would be responsible for karst groundwater, streams, rivers and aquifer contamination? Who would be liable for the destruction of cave-dwelling fauna, endangered and federally protected?

    Karst groundwater contamination cleanup is impossible; remediation attempts take decades with mixed results. Would the AEP Board of Directors and AEP shareholders be held liable for all damages, or would AEP walk away from the mess like Duke Energy in NC?

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.

    When all you have is a Grid, everything looks like a transmission line.

    In 2007 SPP wanted a 345 kV transmission line, and in August 2013 the SPP’s Nickell insisted the line was needed to improve reliability. Why would we trust SPP again, when APSC Commissioners, after a comprehensive review, stated in June 9, 2014 “SPP did not provide sufficient information to justify a 50 mile transmission line?”

    A few months later, what is SPP going to say? In the docket, SPP states “it has responsibility for both transmission planning and expansion within its region, and is better suited to plan for the reliability of the region that Save the Ozarks’ Expert witness Dr. Merrill.” Fortunately, APSC did not buy this naive, self-serving argument; when you think you are responsible for transmission expansion, more lines fit the bill.

    Here is the problem: Is SPP going to consider better, new, simple alternatives like onsite solar and wind power generation, or are they going to protect their jobs and ask for more transmission lines?

    One Merrill trumps one Nickell.

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 3:20 p.m.

    SPP was wrong, there was no need, why ask them again?

    SPP only knows about bulk transmission (1800’s technology). SPP loves a larger Grid and more lines to play with. SPP does not know about energy efficiency, renewable energy and has never seen a solar panel. AEP and all the Arkansas utilities are members of SPP, along with most of the key people at APSC.

    SPP does not know how to plan. On November 17, 2013 SPP requested APSC approval to issue $70,000,000 unsecured bonds to pay a $10,000,000 maturing debt. SPP did not disclose why they needed $70MM to pay $10MM. They asked for expedited review, no hearings, and approval no later than January 15, 2014.

    SPP basically said, “We are lousy planners, we owe millions that we need to pay it right away, we don’t want any questions, we want more money for whatever we need, we don’t have collateral funds, just trust us. This is how they plan transmission lines: old data, no real requirements; give us one more line, just in case we need it!

    SPP service area is much larger than Arkansas. They don’t care about the people of Arkansas, but they want Arkansas ratepayers to give them another line “just in case we ever needed it, because we know more than anyone alive.”

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 3:31 p.m.

    APSC needs independent, third party input for the energy future of Arkansas. There are many experts that know better ways to conserve, use, and generate safe, reliable, renewable energy. NYPSC has a new initiative for the State of New York, to move away from bulk power, promoting renewable, onsite power generation. They know bulk transmission is obsolete.

    In 2014, we are going back to Edison's onsite power generation ideal: Edison had coal, but he dreamed of harnessing the power of the Sun. Germany, Japan, China and many progressive countries are using onsite renewable solutions. Honda Motor is the first major automotive factory in the US powered by two on-site wind turbines. Apple Computers in California is powered by the Sun.

    No, we don’t need 40 years of coal by wire. Please don’t ask SPP; they want more lines!

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 3:59 p.m.

    AEP makes big profits building transmission lines! You and I get to pay for the new lines, and if your home is on the way …

    AEP is selling their old coal plants (except in Arkansas). AEP Transmission is their new game. It has its own executive team and even a website, where they call it “Transmission: The Next Interstate System.”

    The AEP Transmission website says “As we continue into the 21st century, we believe that an advanced interstate transmission system should be part of a shared national vision.” I like this, reminds me of Stark Trek “Space: the final frontier.”

    SWEPCO gets paid for wheeling electrons, coal by wire traveling at high speed. Once on the Grid, no one knows where electrons go, so they can be sold at a profit in another state. As long as the electrons move from point A to point B, SWEPCO gets paid, just like the interstate highways.

    Wheeling is awesome. Like they say on some websites, it is “barely legal.” No state taxes are paid like in the old days of the Internet: a high profit venture “The Next Interstate System.”

    Wheeling is such a cool concept it has a special name. It is more than just transporting electrons, but don’t ask too many questions. The electrons have no idea where they are going or where they came from, they move so fast that is hard to tell where they are at any given time.

    AEP and SWEPCO, and most key people at APSC are members of SPP.

    What is SPP going to say?

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 4:13 p.m.

    The US Grid was built one line at a time, as if drawn on a map by drunken sailors, with no master plan. The result is a giant unmanageable, fragile system. The US Grid is complex, inherently unreliable, and a Homeland Security hazard.

    Three attempts to take it down were made in Arkansas in 2013 by a single individual; we don’t know why. Two power poles were felled October 6, 2013, knocking out electricity for several thousand customers of First Electric Cooperatives near Cabot. On Sept. 29, a deliberately set fire destroyed a control room at an Entergy Arkansas substation near Keo. On Aug. 21 someone attempted to lasso a train with a cable attached to a high-voltage tower in a bottomland south of Cabot.

    On April 16, 2013, a carefully-staged sniper attack on a California power station last year may well have been a rehearsal for a much larger assault.

    Most substations are secured by a chain link fence and a $10 padlock.

    The Grid is the problem, not the solution!

  • LContreras
    June 11, 2014 at 4:24 p.m.

    SPP gets paid to plan transmission lines for remote power generation. They dream of a larger Grid and new jobs for SPP.

    SPP always says they need to improve grid reliability. No one knows what that really means.

    Sometimes the issue is transmission capacity. Other times the issue is grid security.

    When you ask SPP what they do for a living, they say “we help keep the lights on.” However, the power goes out when one squirrel in November is looking for shelter or for whatever reason bites one of the conductors.

    We don’t need another transmission line. We need preventive daily maintenance on the distribution lines, but there is no profit to be made maintaining the lines, and there are fleas and chiggers.

    Is more fun to wait until we have extreme weather, like an ice storm, and send a crew in the middle of the night, working overtime, at high risk, and be on the newspaper the next day.

    Is that what we want for the future energy of Arkansas?

    Why not try onsite solar power: no squirrels, no blackouts, no crews in the middle of the night, no eminent domain …