CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Appalachian Power plans to spend $337 million to upgrade its transmission system in the Kanawha Valley.

The power company filed the paperwork with the PSC Wednesday for its approval. The proposed project covers rebuilding 52 miles of transmission lines, stations and towers in Kanawha County.

“We’re pretty much talking about an area from the [John] Amos plant south and east to the Cabin Creek area,” explained Phil Moye with Appalachian Power.

He said the upgrade is desperately needed. The current infrastructure is, in some cases, 70-80 years old.

If the PSC approves the massive project, Appalachian plans to begin work later this year. Replacing the infrastructure will really ramp up next spring. The project is set to be complete in 2017.

Moye said this is no easy feat considering the size of the project.

“You have to keep power flowing obviously the entire time, so the project will have to be staged very carefully.”

According to Moye, that means working on the system currently in place or right next to the existing rights of way.

“It’s probably something you won’t notice unless you’re right near where a station or a line or a tower might be,” he said. “There is going to be a tremendous amount of work, a tremendous amount of construction activity.”

Moye said Appalachian Power customers in Kanawha County and the rest of West Virginia don’t need to be worried about skyrocketing bills to pay for the project.

“The cost for the project is spread over a several state area. So the impact to customers in West Virginia will be minimal but the benefit is great,” according to Moye.

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