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PJM shares new Artificial Island transmission plan with state lawmakers

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media
Steven Herling of PJM in Delaware state Senate chambers

Delaware state lawmakers grilled a PJM vice president Thursday about the latest version of the company's controversial transmission pipeline project.


This new version of the Artificial Island project is significantly cheaper, with the cost dropping from $400 million to $279 million.


But the root problem remains the same, according to Delaware lawmakers and consumer advocates. Delaware is shouldering 70 percent of the cost and receiving 10 percent of the benefits.


PJM suspended plans for a transmission line connecting Delaware to nuclear power at Artificial Island, New Jersey last August after First State lawmakers complained about the cost structure of the project.


Vice President of Planning for PJM, Steven Herling, agreed with Delaware lawmakers Thursday the cost distribution is unfair.


But he said federal regulators determine that calculation based on where the electricity is flowing. 


“For the vast majority of projects, the parties that are causing the problem and the parties that are going to use the solution are largely the same,” Herling said. 


But that’s not the case in this project. The transmission line is boosting regional stability, not providing additional power to Delmarva customers.


Rep. Trey Paradee (D-29th District) said if PJM knows the cost allocation is unfair, it should join Delaware in arguing that point to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


“We’re looking for friends. We’re looking for advocates. We want help to make the case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the current cost allocation is not fair to ratepayers," he said. 


But Herling said PJM doesn’t advocate on behalf of ratepayers, and it plans to lift a suspension on the project next month.


Delaware lawmakers and consumer advocates said they’ll file another complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission if the cost structure doesn’t change.  

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