By Carla Branch

Dominion Energy last Friday notified Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks in a letter that the company intends to drop the proposed new connection and will not at this time build a new line under Potomac Avenue or reconstruct the existing 230kV line under Route 1. Dominion cited new information on electric power needs in the region provided to the company by PJM, the mid-Atlantic power grid manager.  Dominion will move forward with plans to re-build the Glebe Road substation and will re-locate the North Potomac Yard substation, undergrounding power lines in that area.

The City began working with Dominion in 2014 on ways to solve a predicted power shortage in the region. Dominion originally proposed nine different alignments for a new 230kV transmission line to connect the Glebe Road substation with an existing substation in North Old Town. After a number of stops and starts to the project, the Alexandria City Council approved a plan that would have allowed Dominion to run the line under Potomac Avenue if the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved the project and if Dominion was able to substantiate the need for the work. That agreement would have provided the City with financial compensation in the amount of $14.6 million for impacts to city-owned right-of-way. Dominion also agreed to allow the City to place fiber optic cable alongside the transmission line.

When Council approved Dominion’s proposal last May, members voted to eliminate the Potomac Yard Tier II Special Tax District that was established some years ago as part of the financing plan for the Potomac Yard Metro Station. Given that the City can no longer count on the $14.6 million in compensation from Dominion that would have made up the deficit created by the elimination of the Tier II Special Tax District, staff must now review other funding options and will make a recommendation to Council by the end of the year.