Area residents had the opportunity to explore the possibility of a new electric substation and what it would mean to them at an open house Thursday evening at Camden Falls Reception Hall.
American Electric Power sponsored the public information meeting, a requirement by the state of Ohio, as one of the first steps in having plans approved for the Melmore Substation. The station is to establish a new 138 kV source, reinforcing the existing system.
East Transmission Planning Group representative Bunty Kumar said a study was conducted two years ago which identified weaknesses, including low voltage issues. Kumar said by 2015 there may be a power quality problem in the Tiffin area if action is not taken.
The preferred location for the substation is on South TR 17, just north of East TR 58, known as Center Road. An alternate site is to the west of the preferred site, across TR 17. The new facility would service a power transmission line known as the Howard-Fostoria line which runs from the northwest to the southeast across a 10-acre site already owned by AEP and currently rented for agricultural purposes.
Improvements to several existing substations also are part of the plan. The new line is to be built on the vacant side of existing towers from the new Melmore Station to AEP's Fremont Center Station.
With the planned construction and upgrades, AEP is to be able to meet development needs and upgrade the system in northwest Ohio. Without the substation, according to AEP, in a worst-case scenario, there would be uncontrolled widespread power outages affecting a major part of Seneca and other counties. Reliability issues about low voltages at AEP's Fremont, Fremont Center, Tiffin Center and Greenlawn stations and thermal overloads under certain conditions also are to be addressed.
Steps in the approval process include filing an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board in July. Steve Irwin, public outreach coordinator for the OPSB, said the board is made up of 11 members including ODNR, Ohio EPA, Department of Development as well as representatives from the state Senate and House of Representatives.
The board is to take about two months to review the plan before beginning a 90-day hearing process. Concerned residents and citizens may address the board at that time. If the certificate application is approved, construction could begin in the summer of 2014 and be in service one year later.
For more information, comments or concerns, call (877) 215-9261.