On September 9, 2009, the Maryland Public Service Commission (“PSC”) rejected an application by American Electric Power Co., Inc. (“AEP”) and Potomac Edison Co. d/b/a Allegheny Energy Inc. to build 20 miles of high-voltage transmission line in Frederick County, Maryland. The 765 kV line is part of the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (“PATH”) that is proposed to run in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland.
On May 19, 2009, Potomac Edison submitted the application on behalf of PATH Allegheny Transmission Company, LLC. The Maryland PSC denied the necessary certificate of public necessity and convenience (“CPCN”) because Potomac Edison would not be constructing or operating the new transmission line. Maryland state law requires that the PSC only grant CPCNs to an “electric company.” Because PATH is not an electric company, the PSC held that it had no grounds to grant the CPCN.
The Maryland PSC also found that since an electric company did not submit the initial application, no federal backstop siting authority timelines have begun to run. The PSC went on to state their authority encompasses all integral components of the PATH project, including any substation. However, the PSC stated its order does not reflect whether the substation proposed in the PATH application is integral to the proposed transmission line.
Both Allegheny and AEP released a September 10, 2009 statement saying they are undeterred, and they will remain committed to their project that currently has an in-service date of 2014. The partners are continuing to seek state approval in West Virginia and Virginia while they consider available options for Maryland. They have 30 days to notify the Maryland PSC of their intention to submit a new application.
Commission Lawrence Brenner dissented in part stating that CPCN applications may take the form most beneficial to the public, and he would allow the application to be submitted on behalf of PATH.