27 attend power line meetings

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An area resident talks to Dominion Virginia Power representatives about the company’s plan for a new set of transmission lines.

Attendance was scarce at community meetings last week to get public input on a proposed power transmission line from Suffolk to Chesapeake.

At a meeting on Thursday at Lakeland High School, six residents from Suffolk attended to learn more about the Dominion Virginia Power line. Another eight were from nearby localities, and 13 people total attended a similar meeting in Chesapeake on Tuesday.

“Overall, I think people were happy that we are considering so many alternatives to try to bypass communities,” Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris said Friday.

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The new line would carry power from the Suffolk substation on Hosier Road, south of downtown, to the Yadkin substation near Interstate 64 in Chesapeake. Construction would start in spring 2014 at the earliest if the State Corporation Commission approves the line.

The utility has said the new line is needed to support growing demand for electricity and to provide reliable power after generation plants in the region are taken offline.

Visitors to the relaxed-format meetings examined large-scale maps of the study area and proposed routes, viewed examples of what the towers might look like and asked questions of about a dozen Dominion employees present.

“I have property that’s affected by this,” said Gloria Nelson, who owns property in Chesapeake. “It concerns me it’s going to just totally devalue the land completely.”

Project manager Steve Quarberg said the purpose of the events was to gather public input.

“We’re just in the first stages of studying it,” he said.

Dominion employee Tiffany Taylor-Minor said most people who attend the meetings are interested in where the new lines will be in relation to their property.

“We’ve found this format very effective, so they’re not waiting on a presentation to finish and sitting through questions that don’t apply to them,” she said.

For more information on the project, visit www.dom.com/about/electric-transmission/suffolk/index.jsp.