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State Cites Local Power Needs

A hearing examiner for the State Corporation Commission (SCC) determined eastern Loudoun needs two high-voltage transmission lines.

If approved, the 230,000-kilovolt lines will connect two new substations to provide more electric service for the area, which includes several Internet data centers, SCC hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan, Jr. determined.

Skirpan recommends the SCC approve the nearly one-mile Beaumeade-Beco line and a second three-mile Beaumeade-Greenway line proposed by Dominion Virginia Power.

Skirpan recommends the second line, Segment 20-a, over three alternatives, since it avoids residential and commercial development near Loudoun Parkway and Waxpool Road. The line uses nearly the same path as alternative Segment 20, but instead of following Broad Run to Shellhorn Road, the line follows the MCI WorldCom property line to the Greenway Substation. Segment 20-a follows a recreational trail and two proposed golf courses and uses existing easements and rights-of-way.

"Virginia Power has demonstrated that eastern Loudoun County has experienced significant growth in recent years and that such growth is likely to continue," Skirpan said in his 43-page report to the commission. He determined existing right-of-ways cannot serve the company's needs.

"The company showed there has been a steady increase in demand of electricity in eastern Loudoun," said Ken Schrad, spokesperson for the SCC. The demand increased by 23 percent in 2001 and has steadily increased each year, he said. "The company's forecast shows that the demand will exceed the company's ability to serve reliably by the year 2003 if something isn't done to relieve pressure on the load."

The SCC will allow a 21-day commenting period on the hearing examiner's report, which will be sent to the commission for a final decision.

IN OTHER NEWS, the SCC deferred a hearing to March 6 to consider Loudoun County Power Company, LLC's request to build a generator facility in Loudoun.

The commissioner will consider environmental impacts, zoning regulations and transmission availability before issuing a certificate of authority for the company to build and operate the facility.

If approved, the combined cycle, natural gas-fired facility will provide a capacity of up to 1,400 megawatts of power and will be built in two phases at the Lee Center Business Park, located east of Leesburg. The company plans to begin commercial operation of the first phase, which would have 700 megawatts of capacity, in 2004 and operation of the second phase a year later with the same capacity.

The evidential hearing was continued from the Dec. 6-7 hearing. It is scheduled at 10 a.m. at the SCC office, located in the Tyler Building, 1300 E. Main St., Richmond.

Loudoun County Power is an affiliate of Houston-based Tractebel Power, Inc.