Smith Township approves new power substation

David Singer
Observer Reporter

Greater demand on the power grid has FirstEnergy installing a new substation at 385 Harmon Creek Road. Smith Township supervisors unanimously approved Friday a conditional-use application for Allegheny Line Co., a FirstEnergy subsidiary, to proceed with its plans to build a three-acre pad on the 22-acre property.

“It’s a static var compensator. Basically, this infrastructure allows us to bring existing lines to the transmission line, and prevent the system from getting too hot or overloading,” said FirstEnergy science engineer Richard Miller.

Spokesman Todd Meyers said the project, which will cost “tens of millions,” will start in late summer and hopefully finish before the end of 2016.

“This is not a small project. There are some midstream natural gas production facilities in the area, and though gas is in a bit of slump right now, that won’t last forever.

“So we’re preparing for increased demand in the future, as well as reinforcing the grid for 40,000 customers in Washington and Allegheny counties, he said

The stipulations of the conditional-use plan, which was discussed at a March 17 public hearing, had 11 provisions, including requirements of cameras, police access, noise and light restrictions, installation of culverts along the road and a road bond agreement, which supervisors said had not been settled.

In other energy news, supervisors said they have yet to advertise public hearings for the Revolution natural gas cryogenic plant, which received conditional-use approval in February, and a gas-drilling project near Cherry Valley.