Pull the Plug, SWEPCO
A matter that the Arkansas Public Service Commission should take under consideration is why SWEPCO feels the need to construct this power line into the Carroll Electric and Entergy distribution area. While they claim that they have proven a need for this power line for both growth and reliability, it is part of the public record of this case that a star witness for SWEPCO, Melinda Montgomery, head of transmission planning for Entergy, stated the power line is not needed to provide for growth or reliability on the Entergy side of the intersection between the two power transmission providers.
In addition, a letter from the director of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the regional transmission organization Entergy joined in preference to the Southwest Power Pool, also noted that there were no reliability concerns on the MISO system of power transmission that this power line is necessary to fix. Both important pieces of evidence are part of the public record. That the Administrative Law Judge and commission would choose to ignore such evidence is amazing.
In addition, we have the annual report from Carroll Electric that notes a ½ percent per year annual growth rate, and a 55 percent increase in reliability without intervention by SWEPCO. Surely, things are working well for Carroll Electric and the local area grid without construction of this ill-conceived monstrosity.
I would like to turn back the clock to April Fools Day 2013 when I received notice of SWEPCO’s plan to interfere in the energy transmission to and through Carroll County. I would extend the branch of forgiveness to SWEPCO in the knowledge that we have all made mistakes, and this project is simply an error of massive proportions.
The utility could have taken some guidance from the way the federal government conducts an Environmental Impact Statement, and that they chose to ignore. Guidelines for federal EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act require that all reasonable options be considered in the resolution of a problem, including options to be performed by parties other than the direct applicant. In this case, if there were real problems in the area served by Carroll Electric and Entergy, those two corporations should have each been given the opportunity to propose their own solutions, which (as evidenced by testimony and letter) would have supported the do nothing solution.
The APSC and SWEPCO have maintained they are not to be held to the standards required by the NEPA. They get to make proposals of lesser quality than would be most desirable, and seem proud enough of demanding such low standards to have mentioned it innumerable times during the case.
In the Shipe Road to Kings River application, their choosing not to comply with slightly higher standards has brought them great difficulties. If NEPA standards were followed, this fiasco would not have been put forth in the first place, as SWEPCO would have understood they would not be able to make river or Beaver Lake crossings without the permission of the Corps of Engineers, and that permits to bisect the Pea Ridge National Military Park with their massive power line would not be tolerated under the National Historic Preservation Act.
Citizens of Northwest Arkansas can take heart. With friends like Entergy, Carroll Electric and MISO to uncover SWEPCO’s backsides, it is unlikely the Southwest Power Pool and AEP/SWEPCO can prove need for this 345 kV power line as they were instructed to do in the Public Service Commission’s latest ruling, regardless of how many months they are given to do so. It appears that both Entergy and MISO witnesses are reluctant to lie on their behalf, so it would be best for all for SWEPCO to promptly pull the plug on their application and allow us to live in peace.