APCO putting $480M into Kanawha Valley upgrades

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst Workers guide a new tower section into place at a site near Alum Creek.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst  Workers guide a new tower section into place at a site near Alum Creek.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst
Workers guide a new tower section into place at a site near Alum Creek.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On Tuesday, workers hired by Appalachian Power were busy on a hillside along Corridor G, constructing one of nearly 200 new towers that will beef up the power lines running south of Charleston between Poca and Cabin Creek. The construction is part of about $480 million in transmission and distribution projects underway in the Kanawha Valley that will replace older high-voltage power lines and improve and expand existing substations.

Those projects include roughly $20 million for the Chemical-Turner Transmission Rebuild project near Institute and Dunbar, up to $100 million for the Charleston Area Improvement Project around Charleston and Kanawha City, roughly $25 million for improvements under the streets of downtown Charleston and $335 million for the Kanawha Valley Transmission Reinforcement Project that will upgrade lines between the John Amos Plant in Poca and substations near Cabin Creek.

Appalachian Power officials say the transmission upgrades are meant to increase the voltage that can be carried on the company’s transmission lines and to make the electric grid around the Charleston region more reliable. The company filed a case with the Public Service Commission this week, seeking to increase customer rates by 8 percent. Part of that rate increase would be used to recover roughly $90 million needed for those projects…

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