A public meeting to discuss the new line for the Tennessee Valley Authority drew a large turnout at the BancorpSouth Conference Center.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has proposed six routes linking the Union 500-kilovolt substation near Sherman and the Tupelo 161-kV substation in Fairpark. The above-ground routes run 12 to 15 miles long. Construction won't begin until 2014, and the line wouldn't be operational until 2016.
Thursday's open house was to hear from landowners, officials and others interested in how the project will impact them.
"We're finding out good things," said project manager Chris Austin. "For example, we found out about a school and a subdivision plat."
TVA will review the comments and information from Thursday's meeting - as well as those received in its office by Oct. 15 - and weigh them along with potential environmental impacts to determine the best route.
The third transmission line is a proactive step to improve reliability of power transmission.
If one of the two lines now in place is lost due to an overload, the second line would be overloaded as well. That would leave just about everyone without electricity. So, a third line would lessen the risk of overload.
"We plan five to 10 years ahead," said John Hite, of TVA's transmission planning. While overloads haven't been a significant problem, future growth and higher demand is expected.
Landowners are the most interested in the impact of the new line. Opal Reynolds of Saltillo was one landowner who attended the meeting
"I live west of Saltillo near Wesson Park, and I don't want the line anywhere near my yard," said Opal Reynolds. "I don't have a lot of land to begin with."
TVA officials say they'll take everything into consideration.
"It could be we take a longer route - which would cost more - because it has the least impact," said Myra Ireland of TVA's communications staff.
The project will cost $750,000 to $800,000 per mile to build, Ireland said.
"But there won't be a rate increase," she said. "These projects are built into our budget because we know they'll have to be done."
COMMENTS CAN BE sent to Chris Austin, 1101 Market Street (MR4G),
Chattanooga, TN 37402-2801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Oct. 15.