Local News

Residents, Progress Energy To Bring Case To Utilities Commission

Posted November 22, 2004

— There is a power struggle over where to put power lines. Residents in west Raleigh are at odds with Progress Energy. Both groups plan to plead their case to the state Utilities Commission.

Power poles as tall as 125 feet would border Johnny Wardlaw's property under a plan proposed by Progress Energy.

"Twenty or 30 years from now, somebody is going to look back -- why did they allow that to happen?"

Mike Hughes, spokesman for Progress Energy, said it is the best of dozens of options.

"It is virtually impossible to do it without having some impact on some individuals," he said.

The lines would essentially border Blue Ridge Road, cut west on Trinity Road then north along Interstate 40 to a new substation.

Wardlaw said the lines are not appropriate to that area -- an area that welcomes millions to the RBC Center, Carter Finley Stadium and the Fairgrounds. However, Hughes disagrees.

"All of that growth is symbolic of the need to have more transmission line facilities to serve that area," he said.

The proposed route for the power lines would extend four miles. Some opponents suggest eliminating half the distance.

"I think they built around their elbow to get to their thumb for no apparent engineering or economic reason," said Robert Page, Wardlaw's attorney.

Schenck Forest will also be affected by the proposed power lines. State and environmental agencies, including North Carolina State University, recommended the lines not cross it.

"This is a balancing act and we try to the best of our ability to take into consideration what property owners have told us, what state and environmental agencies have told us," Hughes said.

Ultimately, the decision rests in the hands of the state Utilities Commission. Both sides will present testimony during a hearing set for Jan. 4.

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