Recent Events

Even though the PATH project has been cancelled, efforts continue to ensure the threat doesn’t return at some point in the future.  Here is a short summary:

9/14/2015 – FERC hearings regarding PATH rates – the hearing judge issued a ruling, which is currently being challenged, see FERC website for details

10/27/2013 – PATH continues to try to work to recover their 121+million in costs for their now abandoned project. This year C.A.K.E.S members have kept up with the FERC hearings on the subject by intervening in the process and staying informed as to the distribution of the former Browning Farm.  And the goal of our intervening is to make sure the Kemptown property does not go to another utility, as you can see by our work with Frederick County Zoning in changing the Text Amendment (September 2012).
We are looking for alternatives for uses of the 152 acres and welcome your suggestions.

10/23/2012 – ‘PATH already passed $95 million in expenses to 61+ million ratepayers in PJM’s territory (all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia) due to the abandonment.  Of that, $5.7 million is under legal challenge.  PATH companies have also filed with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to recover another $121.7 million: $67 million for siting and rights of way; $40 million for engineering and design; $8.7 million for filings in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia; and $6 million for administrative functions.  Thirty parties have filed to intervene in that case, including, on Oct. 19, the “joint consumer advocates,” or JCA, of the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, and individual pro se interveners from West Virginia and Maryland.  Click here for the full story.

9/20/2012 – It’s official! Zoning Text Amendment #ZT-12-14 – passed unanimously by the Board of County Commissioners. An electric substation of 500kV or more must be in a LI or GI (industrial) zone, not AG!! Also, the Board of Appeals may take into consideration homes within 1000 feet of a special exception.  Click here for the full story.

9/6/2012 – After five years of opposition and $130 million being spent on the project that electric customers, will still have to cover, it was decided that the controversial Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH, was not needed to ensure the reliability of the area’s power supply in the years to come.  Click here for the full story.

8/24/2012 – PJM announces that the PATH project has been CANCELLED!  Click here for more details.

About C.A.K.E.S.

Citizens Against the Kemptown Electric Substation (C.A.K.E.S.) is a 100% volunteer organization made up of concerned citizens who are committed to preventing the construction of one of the world’s largest substations in Mt. Airy/Monrovia. The massive 42-acre substation (which would be larger than the Pentagon and taller than the Statue of Liberty!) is proposed to be built in the midst of several well-established neighborhoods. In fact, there are more than 1300 homes within a mile radius and thousands more in close proximity. If the substation is approved at the proposed site, the construction would include 18 towers, six of which would be 175 feet tall (more than 16 stories high!) and would also include seven 300-ton transformers, together containing more than 200,000 gallons of highly toxic, highly flammable oil.

To date, CAKES has the backing and full support of Frederick County Government:

  • The Planning Commission – which unanimously found the proposed Substation INCONSISTENT with the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan
  • The Board of Zoning Appeals – which denied PATH’s application for a Special Exception to build the substation at the proposed site. Also, when asked to RECONSIDER the decision, the BZA denied that as well
  • The Board of County Commissioners – which sent a letter to the Maryland Public Service Commission backing both the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals decisions stating that the “Kemptown Substation may NOT be built in the proposed site.”
  • The Town of Mt. Airy Planning Commission – which urged the BZA NOT to allow the substation so close to the town, suggesting a remote location.

On February 28, 2011, PATH was directed by PJM to “suspend work on the project, subject to those activities necessary to maintain the project in its current state.” This action, however, does not constitute a directive for PATH to cancel or abandon the project; it simply allows time for the project to regroup. After PJM issued its directive, FirstEnergy conceded that, based on PJM’s latest forecasts, the project “has been delayed until at least 2020.” Subsequently, PATH withdrew its CPCN applications in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, thereby evading having to produce the load forecast information that PATH opponents have been requesting for more than two years. Meanwhile, despite the project being withdrawn and suspended, PATH is undertaking “activities necessary to maintain the project in its current state,” which means you and I are paying for Potomac Edison to pursue its challenge of the Special Exception denial in Frederick County Circuit Court and funding PATH while it continues to spend our hard-earned dollars on a suspended, unnecessary project.

A week after being directed to hold the project in abeyance, PATH filed a “Status Update” with FERC stating it is “suspending” the project indefinitely while PJM “conducts more analysis of the PATH project” and “evaluates its planning methods.” In other words, despite the current models showing there is no need for the project; PATH is counting on PJM to alter its processes to invent a need. When that happens, be assured PATH will be back! They may change it up a bit and give it a new name, but it will be back.  There are already other projects in the works that call for a substation to be built at the same location on Browning Farm.

What’s more, PATH has stated it should continue to receive the previously approved 14.3% ROE, that you and I pay, during the entire suspension, no matter how long that is, allowing this project to hang in limbo could keep homeowners held hostage well into the next decade, or beyond clearly this is unacceptable. The PATH project must be abandoned now so that Frederick County homeowners can move forward with their futures.

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