Questions Raised About PATH’s Impact on Maryland

Mike Morris, the CEO of American Electric Power, would like people to think that PATH is a done deal.  He’s even suggesting that to investors.

The federal government does not approve transmission lines (unless they are entirely on federal land.)  The Bush-era Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did approve the rate structure for utilities to use to recover the cost of the project from rate-payers.  (That FERC “tariff” plan has itself come under fire in the federal courts.)

However, the states in question — Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — retain the legal authority to deny the certificates of need required for utilities to construct new transmission on their territory.

PATH is being challenged by concerned citizens and elected officials in all three states.

Maryland Energy Report summarizes here six major questions about PATH that elected officials should be asking.



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4 responses to “Questions Raised About PATH’s Impact on Maryland

  1. mdenergygal

    You are correct that FERC has not given approval for PATH (rather, FERC approved a generous 14% ROE), but one point should be made: FERC has transmission siting backstop autority under section 216 of the Federal Power Act. This authority kicks in under certain circumstances and could come into play in Maryland, as this state lies within the designated National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor.

  2. John Howley

    mdenergygal is quite right to mention the complication of federal backstop siting authority and properly qualifies that authority “under certain circumstances.” Lots for the lawyers to fight over here.

    Maryland opponents would be in the strongest position vis a vis the feds if the PSC explicitly rejected the plan. On the other hand, powerline investors would be in a weak position politically in trying to apply federal condemnation power against taxpayers WITHOUT explicit approval for the line from the State of Maryland.

    Many falsely imply that federal siting authority is a magic wand that trumps (to mix metaphors) citizen opposition to unneeded transmission projects. The opposition will still be there and will be just as intense but the venue will change. Senators Mikulski and Cardin would need to add the issue to their lists. Does that help or hurt AEP?

    That’s a ways off. PATH is mired in threshold issues at the MD PSC. I would argue that the FERC 12-month clock has yet to start ticking…..

  3. Pingback: AEP Strains Trust of Marylanders « Maryland Energy Report

  4. Pingback: Federal Law Requires a Full EIS for PATH « Maryland Energy Report

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