BECKLEY, W.Va. — Appalachian Power and its affiliate AEP West Virginia Transmission Company said Monday they are preparing for much-needed upgrades to transmission systems in four counties.

The company said the Meadow Bridge Transmission Line upgrade in Fayette and Greenbrier counties, Carbondale Transmission Line Upgrade in Kanawha and Fayette counties and Pineville Area Power Improvements in Wyoming County are due for upgrades.

This means rebuilding over 50 miles of transmission lines and upgrading several substations through these areas.

Appalachian Power Spokesperson Phil Moye said while it is a big undertaking, the update is needed to ensure safe and reliable service.

“Many areas in our West Virginia service territory, our transmission facilities that support the transmission grid, are aging. They’ve been there in some cases anywhere from 50 to 80 years. The projects that we’re taking like the Meadow Bridge project are being done to ensure that we’ll have a good, reliable transmission grid moving forward.”

While rebuilding transmission lines, existing right-of-ways are proposed to be extended to 100 feet. These changes are also necessary in order to modernize the system, the company says. Moye said a common concern when upgrades to lines are scheduled is whether or not electric will be interrupted.

“As we do these transmission projects we try to do them it in a way that ensures that we don’t have interruptions to our customers. In most cases what we’re trying to do is to build the new line alongside the existing line. That way there’s as little disruption of property and right-of-way as possible.”

To help keep the public informed, Appalachian Power will host four open houses for the community and affected landowners. Landowners living along the effected paths will receive information via mail prior to these events.

Open house schedule:

  • Meadow Bridge Transmission Line: 5:50-7:30 pm. Thursday, January 25 at the Rainelle Public Library.
  • Carbondale Transmission Line: 5:30-7:30 pm. Wednesday, January 31 at the Baisi Athletic Center of the Montgomery YMCA.
  • Pineville Area Power Improvements: 5:00-7:00 pm. Tuesday, February 6 at Southern W.Va. Community & Technical College, Saulsville.

Those attending are welcome to share ideas, concerns and ask questions about the upgrades with project team members.

“What we try to do is make sure we can get as much input as possible from folks,” said Moye. “So we have these open houses so that property owners that may be near that transmission line can come in, look at our proposed route and then provide feedback. In many cases we found that actually ends up with a better line route than what we thought of initially.”

Moye added information gathered from the public can often greatly alter construction and upgrade plans.

“Historical places or something that we may not know about that’s in the proposed path of a transmission line. Those are things that are valuable to know. The only way we can know that sometimes is through the input of property owners who are near those lines.”

Work is expected to begin on these projects in early 2018 and occur in phases over two-years. More information and maps of the projects can be found here.

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