By JOHN T. WARD
Setting the stage for a faceoff with residents living alongside it, electricity provider JCP&L on Tuesday filed its formal request to build a controversial 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in Red Bank.
The company’s 671-page filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, viewable here, attempts to rebut complaints by residents living along the line’s proposed route that it would bring health threats, reduced property values and other problems.
Dubbed the Monmouth County Reliability Project, the project revives a 25-year-old plan for a 230-kilovolt transmission line strung along the existing New Jersey Transit rail line between power substations in Aberdeen and Red Bank.
Already, two 230KV lines run along the route, but a third is needed to ensure “a stronger, modernized electrical system benefiting nearly 214,000 customers in Monmouth County,” the company said in a press release announcing the filing.
The price tag of the project is put at $111 million, up from the initial estimate of $75 million when the company announced it in May.
No hearing date has yet been scheduled by the BPU. But residents concerned about potential adverse impacts of the line have organized opposition in the form of a group called Residents Against Giant Electricity (RAGE). They cite a range of concerns, including health effects from the electromagnetic fields created by the lines; the aesthetics of support pylons up to 210 feet tall; the impact on ratepayers and more.
Governing bodies in Red Bank and Aberdeen have passed resolutions opposing the line’s construction.
In it filing, the company claims that “the weight of the scientific evidence from research studies does not support the conclusion that electric fields or magnetic fields are harmful at the levels to which people are exposed under transmission lines, in homes, or near machines and electrical appliances. ”
It also includes “a study conducted by a real estate expert that concludes the project won’t impact area property values,” JCP&L said in the press release.