Resolution Would Block Power Line Project that Would Cost Delawareans Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

 

DOVER – House lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday to block a planned power line project on Artificial Island that Delaware residents would have to pay for despite receiving only a small portion of the project’s benefits.

Sponsored by House Energy Committee chair Rep. Trey Paradee, House Concurrent Resolution 89 would instruct the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to “deny any and all easement requests by any party related to the Artificial Island transmission project,” effectively prohibiting the project from moving forward. The resolution states that this would remain in effect “so long as the current cost allocation formula remains in place, or if a new allocation formula that would still place a large portion of the project costs on Delaware customers is enacted.”

The project, a $410 million effort that would result in Delaware residential and commercial customers paying $354 million, is being put forward by regional transmission organization PJM. The project would build a transmission line across the Delaware River connecting Artificial Island to Delaware with the goal of improving reliability throughout PJM’s region.

Recently, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) required Delaware residential and commercial customers to pay for the cost of this project despite receiving only 10 percent of the benefits it would create. Various Delaware entities, including Governor Jack Markell, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation, the House Democratic Caucus, Delaware Public Service Commission and the Public Advocate have pushed to reduce the cost of this project for Delawareans, but have been denied by FERC.

“It’s outrageous that Delmarva ratepayers are being ordered to shoulder such a huge burden of the project when they will receive such a small part of the benefits,” said Rep. Paradee, D-Dover West. “This could cost businesses thousands of dollars a month and burden local residents for something that will not benefit them. That’s the definition of a bad deal.

“We might not have been successful in appealing to FERC, but we have the final say when it comes to environmental permitting. We believe that this is the most appropriate and effective way to protect Delawareans from an unjust and unreasonable burden.”

Last month, the House Democratic Caucus joined Governor Markell and our Congressional Delegation in urging FERC to reconsider its ruling. “Our small businesses and residents do not deserve to be unfairly targeted with such a burden,” the letter stated. “They deserve a fair and just review that takes their interests into consideration.”

The caucus has not received a response to the letter, which was signed by all 25 members.