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Va. Regs Recommend Power Line Application Dismissal

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia regulators are recommending the dismissal of an application to build a $2 billion power line from West Virginia to Maryland.

A hearing examiner with the State Corporation Commission said Tuesday that regulators should approve a motion to withdraw filed by American Electric Power and FirstEnergy Corp.

The utilities suspended the plan to build the 765-kilowatt line in February because PJM Interconnection, the group that oversees the electric grid for a 13-state region, forecasts weaker-than-expected demand for electricity in Mid-Atlantic states and directed the companies to halt the project.

The 275-mile Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline was to run from AEP's John Amos power station in Putnam County, W.Va., 31 miles across three counties in northern Virginia, to a substation near Kemptown, Md. It was originally envisioned to meet expectations of growing demand for electricity in the region. Officials predicted that if the line wasn't built, the region would suffer from brownouts and blackouts.

The SCC must still issue a final order. West Virginia and Maryland regulators have already granted withdrawal requests.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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