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BGE hosts open house in Fallston on power upgrades

About a half dozen residents attended an open house with representatives from Baltimore Gas & Electric and PJM Interconnection on Tuesday to discuss coming upgrades to power centers in the Harford County area.

Experts from seven BG&E departments such as engineering, planning, environmental and vegetation were on hand to discuss any concerns residents might have as the Northeast Transmission System Improvement project gets under way.

BGE and PJM will host two more open houses this week at Kingsville Fire Hall on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Jarrettsville library on Thursday at 4 p.m.

The transmission system improvement project will do three things: increase reliability, increase capacity and increase access, Aaron Koos, a spokesperson for BGE, said.

The project has been sectioned into three segments. BG&E will be upgrading overhead transmission lines between existing rights-of-way running between the Graceton and Conastone substations, Graceton and Bagley substation and Bagley and Raphael substations.

Upgrades to the first part of the project are scheduled to begin as soon as early 2014 and to be completed in 2017.

Dan Covington, of BGE's planning department, said the 2017 deadline is important because of recent information revealed in a PJM Interconnection study which states the area could experience electrical overload in 2020 if the upgrades are not made.

"PJM is projecting the lines will overload if nothing is done," Covington said.

He said local suppliers can only service about 50 percent of the residential and commercial electrical lines in the area. Covington said these upgrades will ensure there is never a breach or gap in service especially during high transmission summer season.

Some upgrades will occur on residential property, where BGE has contracts with property owners to have electrical poles on their land. Residents in those areas could see an increase in construction crews, Koos said.

To accommodate the upgrades new single-line poles will replace the existing lattice poles, which are wider and resemble a triangle.

Brian Adams, of BGE's vegetation department, said the single-line poles will run east of the existing poles and may require more vegetation in the area be trimmed or removed to prevent interference.

Koos said service for Harford area residents will not be disrupted during the upgrades.

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