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Pa. Court Defines Need for Transmission Lines

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1997

Overturning a utility commission ruling, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has concluded that state law does not require an electric utility to prove that a planned transmission facility is needed from an engineering perspective to win a certificate of convenience authorizing construction.

The court overturned a ruling by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that had denied an application by Pennsylvania Power and Light Co. to construct a 69-kilovolt transmission line. The commission said the utility had failed to prove that the proposed line was a necessary alternative to simply upgrading its existing 12-kv facilities in the region.

The court acknowledged that state law governing applications to construct electric transmission facilities requires the commission to determine if there is a need for a high-voltage line. It said, however, that the law does not require the new facility to be necessary from an engineering perspective. Pa. P&L Co. v. Pa. PUC, - A.2d - , No. 2711 C.D. 1996, June 6, 1997 (Pa.Commw.Ct.).

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