In a move that will significantly hurt thousands of families who live in the western end of Prince William County, Dominion re-affirmed their position that they believe the I-66 Overhead option is the routing plan the State Corporation Commission (SCC) should select. In their response to the recommendations of the SCC Hearing Examiner, Dominion stated that the 679 homes within 500 ft. of the 120 ft. power lines are not significant enough to warrant the cost to pay for under-grounding.
This is a slap in the face to the very rate-payers they claim to be trying to protect. It is clear that with Dominion, this has very little to do with the rate-payer, but more with protecting big businesses who want the taxpayers to pay for their profits.
Dominion is not the only bad actor in this story. The owners of the proposed data center are also accountable. Since the County struck a deal with the owners of the data center, I cannot by law call them by name (even though we all know who they are). With this being the holiday season, I will simply refer to them as “The Grinch”.
The SCC Hearing Examiner reviewed thousands of comments from residents in Western Prince William County who nearly unanimously agreed that if the powerlines had to be built, Dominion should use the proposed I-66 Hybrid Route (which would bury the powerlines along I-66) and that The Grinch should pay for it.
Yet last month, the Hearing Examiner recommended the SCC Commissioners adopt a different proposed route. One that would have such a dramatically negative impact on many homeowners that Dominion Power had previously rejected it as being unacceptable.
This route, known as the Carver Road route, did not receive any attention during the three public hearings held by the Hearing Examiner because no one believed it was a viable route option. Yet inexplicably, the Hearing Examiner recommended this route because it is “cheaper” than the I-66 Hybrid route.
The Hearing Examiner also said that he just did not think it would be fair to force The Grinch to pay for the power line extension.
Now Dominion Power in their response to the Hearing Examiner’s report, is swooping in and demanding that the SCC accept the I-66 Overhead route as the only acceptable alternative, even though it will ruin our historical view scape, significantly erode the property values of thousands of homes, and do irreparable harm to our quality of life; all to serve the economic interests of The Grinch.
The Grinch could have located their data center just a few miles away at a site that already has power and that is zoned for data centers. However in this instance, The Grinch is being a bully and has already started construction on the new data center near Haymarket, even though their personal power line has not even been approved.
The only acceptable option for me, for the thousands of citizens who joined in petitioning the SCC, and for every local political official who represents the impacted area, is to continue to support the I-66 Hybrid route that buries the power line and requires The Grinch to pay for it.
It is incredibly disappointing that Dominion Power, the Hearing Examiner, and The Grinch are doing everything they can to place the burden of cost of this new power line onto homeowners who will only see a significant reduction in their property values as a result.
I encourage everyone to read the latest response from the Coalition to Protect Prince William County to the Hearing Examiner and Dominion Power. The Coalition is working hard to protect the interests of citizens who will be unfairly penalized. That document can be found at the following link: http://www.protectpwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Coalition-Response-to-Hearing-Examiner-Recommendation-120616.pdf
I will continue to update you on this issue as it unfolds, and ask that you continue to stand in solidarity against this egregious and greedy action.
Sincerely, Pete Candland, Supervisor Gainesville Magisterial District