Ameren to host open house on new local transmission lines

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Construction of a new Ameren Missouri transmission line between its Lutesville substation and the Cape Girardeau area will be the topic of an open house Thursday.

The exact route for the estimated 14- to 17-mile line is yet to be determined, but property owners along the proposed routes, who Ameren needs to secure easements from, were invited to attend an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Notre Dame Regional High School.

An Ameren spokesman declined to answer questions about the project, stating that media would be briefed on the transmission line proposal Thursday before the public meeting.

According to its website, the new 345-kilovolt line is expected to cost $55 million to $75 million and will be paid for by Ameren customers through the fuel adjustment clause, regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Last week Ameren asked the commission for a $27.7 million increase in its fuel adjustment charge to cover its rising fuel and purchased power costs. The utility typically files for a fuel adjustment every four months, according to the commission. This fee adjustment is small, compared to a $376 million rate case Ameren filed with the commission in February. The commission is holding hearings during the next several weeks around the state to get public input on this rate case. It is expected to make a decision early next year. This is Ameren's fifth rate increase request in six years.

The new lines will improve Ameren's reliability in the Cape Girardeau area, according to its website. "The new line is required to support the Cape Girardeau region in the event that certain transmission outages occur during peak demand conditions that could lead to the loss of service to a significant portion of the Cape Girardeau region in 2016," the Ameren website says.

Ameren has identified several potential routes for the new lines, beginning at its Lutesville substation and ending at a new station to be built off Route K, west of Cape Girardeau.

Gary Farrar, whose property falls in the two southern most route options identified by Ameren for the new transmission line said he plans to attend Thursday's meeting to learn more about the possibility of having to grant Ameren an easement.

"I'm not crazy about it, naturally," he said. "It's kind of vague right now. I want to see what they say at the meeting and go from there."

Ameren will have to apply for a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Missouri Public Service Commission if the transmission lines go outside its service area. With several routes proposed at this point, it isn't clear if that will be necessary, commission spokesman Gregg Ochoa said. Farrar said his property isn't served by Ameren; he is customer a of SEMO Electric.

"There can be situations where even though a customer is served by a co-op, it could be still deemed in the utility's service territory," said Dan Beck, engineering analysis supervisor with the commission.

More information on the project can be found online at LHTransmission.com.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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