Op-Ed in NJ Paper with S-R Update, Big Chiefs Are Sad :-(

Dave Slaperud of Stop the Lines had an opinion piece in the Daily Record in New Jersey last week.  There is not much news in his piece about the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project, except that a decision by the National Park Service about permitting of the line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is expected sometime this fall.

The S-R line, the eastern end of PJM’s now crippled Project Mountaineer, was approved by both the PA PUC and the NJ BPU, the state utility commissions, but cannot proceed in NJ until the NPS makes the required Environmental Impact Statement assessment concerning the line’s impact on the Delaware Water Gap NRA.  Because no other federal approval is required in PA, PPL, the company that is building the PA section of the line has begun work on the PA section.

The NJ state environmental agency has wisely refused to allow any of its own permitting process to proceed until the NPS makes is final decision.  PSEG, NJ’s largest utility, which is building the NJ section of the line, has not been able to begin construction.

Stop the Lines and other citizens’ groups have appealed the NJ BPU’s approval of the line to the NJ Supreme Court.  That appeal is still pending, and it is doubtful if the NJ section of the S-R line can proceed until this appeal process is complete.

As Slaperud points out, the steady decline of power demand for the foreseeable future completely undercuts PJM’s and power company claims that S-R is needed to maintain grid reliability.

PJM and PSEG both jumped stiff legged at Slaperud’s op-ed.  Big Chief Terry Williamson (are all PJM executives named “Terry”?) responded with another op-ed in the Daily Record calling Slaperud’s piece “outlandish”.  PSEG also filed a piece in the Daily Record with outlandish statements of its own, namely that Slaperud wanted PSEG to “do nothing” about maintaining grid reliability and implying that Slaperud wanted to do away with electrical service.

As Keryn pointed out on the StopPATH WV blog, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  I’m sure Big Chief Williamson doesn’t like people calling PJM “a conglomerate of transmission line owners and power companies.”  Big Chief prefers “a federally regulated organization” and claims that PJM “cannot and do not favor one group over another.”

Yeah, Big Chief, tell that to the state consumer advocates who wrote this letter to your bosses.  You didn’t favor PATH over the competing Liberty power line project by hiring Burns and McDonnell, an engineering firm that had a $1 million contract with PATH’s owners, to analyze the feasibility of the Liberty project when compared with PATH?

Big Chief Williamson also claims that “[d]emand response already is considered when we plan transmission needs.”  Well, if that was true, then why did East Virginia SCC Hearing Examiner Alexander Skirpan have to order PJM, in late 2009, to include its most recent demand resource market results in its claim that PATH was needed?

Please, don’t pee on my leg and tell me that it’s raining.  PJM is a membership company that manages the dispatch of electricity and runs electricity markets in its region.  Compare those functions with the definition of a business cartel here.

The “Chief Terrys” (Boston and Williamson) are an embarrassment to the hard working engineers who actually manage the PJM grid.

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