MetroNews Alternative One Story Disappears

If you Google the phrase “Power Companies Still Back PATH Over Alternative 1,” Google will call up a link to a story on the MetroNews Web site.  When you click on the link, this is the message that appears at MetroNews: “There was a problem locating the selected news article.  Please click on the Back button on your browser and try again.”  This has been going on for at least two days.  Here’s a link to the MetroNews “ghost” story.

Apparently, MetroNews has “deep-sixed” this article.  Why?  Is this more of the media manipulation that we have seen from the Charleston Daily Mail?

Did AEP/Allegheny(FirstEnergy) pressure MetroNews to cut any reporting on Alternative One?  Did the power companies not like the way their spokespeople sounded with their lame responses?  We don’t know.  And no, Ken Ward, I don’t have any idea whether MetroNews even runs PATH ads, because I don’t listen to their radio shows.

For those of you who missed the story, here is the Google Cache version:

Power Companies Still Back PATH Over Alternative 1

Staff

Charleston

A Virginia utility company claims the PATH project isn’t the most cost effective way to providepower to the mid-Atlantic.

Dominion Virginia Power submitted a report to the Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee earlier this month. The report says PJM, the organization that oversees the electricity grid for states like West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, could save $1.5 billion by nixing PATH and instead going with what Dominion Virginia calls Alternative 1.

PATH, the proposed 765-kilovolt line project from Allegheny Energy and American ElectricPower is estimated at $2.1 billion and would stretch from the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County east for 275 miles into Maryland.

Dominion Virginia says by simply upgrading lines already in place in West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, at cost of $620 million, they can increase the current transmission capability by 65 percent. The project would not require new towers, new rights of way or seizure of private land. PATH requires all three.

Two of the Alternative 1 lines extend from Pruntytown in Taylor County to Mt. Storm in Grant County and Mt. Storm to Doubs, MD.

But Jeri Matheny with Appalachian Power says PJM fully backs PATH.

“PJM directs us in what transmission we build. And they believe the PATH project is the correctalternative. It’s the best way to solve the energy needs of the future,” Matheny said.

Allegheny Energy’s Doug Colafella concurs. He says it’s not a matter of one project over the other.

“With the rebuild of that Mt. Storm-Doubs line, as well as construction of the PATH project, those are two projects that PJM has pointed to as important upgrades to the electric grid,” Colafella said.

Earlier this month, the West Virginia Public Service Commission agreed to move public hearings on the PATH project from March to October to give PJM more time to review the latest powerload forecast for the region.

So far, PJM has not commented on Dominion Virginia’s Alternative 1 plan.

There are significant factual errors in the story.  Dominion presented Alternative One to PJM’s TEAC in June 2010, not “earlier in the month.”  Dominion never claimed that Alternative One would “increase the current transmission capability by 65 percent” for its rebuild project.  Dominion did say that its rebuilds would increase the thermal capacity of the two rebuilt lines by 65 percent.  That means the ability of these lines to withstand heating from carrying increased loads, but does not say anything about “current capability,” whatever that is.  Obviously, with increased thermal capacity, the lines can carry more current load, but the 65 percent did not refer to its current capacity.

The MetroNews story also fails to explain that the Mt. Storm to Doubs rebuild, which has already been approved by PJM and the WV PSC, is HALF of Alternative One.  So saying that PJM “has not commented” on Alternative One is only a half truth.  Without the fact that Mt. Storm to Doubs is part of Alternative One, readers would not understand what has really happened.

Despite the fact that the people at StopPATH WV and I have been reporting on Alternative One for six months, no one from MetroNews contacted any of us for comment.  Good to see MetroNews is interested in presenting all sides of an issue.

So, maybe MetroNews pulled this story off its Web site because some smart editor realized how inaccurate and one-sided it was.  The proof this hypothesis will be whether MetroNews reporting on Alternative One improves in the future.