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APCo announces power grid upgrades

  • Aug 12, 2022
The Galax Gazette

INDEPENDENCE — Appalachian Power is planning upgrades to the power grid in Grayson County, and company representatives are hosting an in-person open house for the public on Aug. 18.

According to APCo, the Fries-Independence Transmission Line Rebuild Project includes:

rebuilding approximately 11 miles of 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line;

building a new Scenic Road Substation; and

retiring the Fries Substation.

The plan calls for crews to install a second power source to address aging equipment along the existing Fries-Independence transmission line, replacing wooden structures from the 1950s with modern steel poles.

"We're really excited to have this opportunity to ensure continued reliable electric service for customers in Grayson County," said George Porter, APCo spokesperson, in a news release about the project. "We understand the need for improvements in this area and hope the residents come out and provide feedback to help us build a project that minimizes impacts."

APCo invites landowners and community members to the open house on Aug. 18 from 5-7 p.m. at the Grayson County High School cafeteria, 110 Blue Devil Drive in Independence. Citizens will be able to review project details, talk with project representatives and provide feedback. APCo said there is no formal presentation, so attendees can arrive at any time during the two-hour event.

Those who are not able to attend can visit the project website at Landowners within the project area can expect to receive a packet in the mail that includes additional project details and a comment card they can return with their feedback.

According to APCo, this project — along with the recently announced multi-component Independence Area Project — will enhance electric reliability for customers in Grayson County.

The Independence Area Project involves building a new Point Lookout Substation and a new electric transmission line. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2024 and the substation and line would go into service at the end of 2025.

The company said crews plan to begin construction on the Fries-Independence Transmission Line Rebuild Project in early 2025 and conclude by late 2026.

Together, these improvements are expected to reduce extended, community-wide outages and strengthen the power grid in the Elk Creek, Independence, Grant and Troutdale communities.

According to APCo, the rebuild begins at the proposed Point Lookout Substation on Austin Street, off North Independence Avenue/Route 21. The upgrades travel northeast, crossing through Carsonville and Providence before ending at the proposed Scenic Road Substation in Fries.

A fact sheet from the company says it will begin communicating with property owners about right-of-way acquisition this fall, and a proposed route will be announced in early 2023.

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