By JOHN T. WARD
New Jersey regulators have pulled the plug on a controversial plan for electricity provider Jersey Central Power & Light to construct a 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in Red Bank, the Asbury Park Press reported Friday.
The rejection by the Board of Public Utilities came three months after an administrative law judge found JCP&L had failed to prove it needs the $111 million project and recommended the board deny the request.
Dubbed the Monmouth County Reliability Project, the project would have run a new 230-kilovolt transmission line along the existing New Jersey Transit rail line between power substations in Aberdeen and Red Bank on towers up to 210 feet tall.
Residents along the line and elsewhere battled the plan from the start in the form of a group called Residents Against Giant Electricity (RAGE). They cited a range of concerns, including health effects from the electromagnetic fields created by the lines; the aesthetics of support pylons more than 200 feet tall; the impact on ratepayers and more.
JCP&L, however, maintained that while two 230KV lines now run along the route, a third is needed to ensure “a stronger, modernized electrical system benefiting nearly 214,000 customers in Monmouth County,” it said in a press release announcing the BPU filing in 2016. The company also disputed claims of adverse health impacts.
RAGE posted this message on its Facebook page early Friday afternoon:
BPU Board adopts ALJ Cookson decision & denied MCRP. The project Is DEAD. If Jcp&l ever want to revisit this, BPU said analysis is flawed & more robust analysis, including alternatives & demand forecast would be needed.
Governing bodies in towns along the route, including Red Bank, had passed resolutions opposing the line’s construction.