Petition of Public Service Company of New Hampshire, 012021 VTPSBD, 20-3431-PET

Docket Nº20-3431-PET
Opinion JudgeELIZABETH SCHILLING, ESQ. HEARING OFFICER
Party NamePetition of Public Service Company of New Hampshire, d/b/a Eversource Energy, for a non-substantial change determination that a certificate of public good, pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 248, is not required for installation of lightning arrestors on 24 H-frame structures along Eversource's 115 kV electric transmission line located in the Towns of ...
AttorneyDaniel C. Burke, Esq. Vermont Department of Public Service (for Vermont Department of Public Service) Donald J. Einhorn, Esq. Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (for Vermont Agency of Natural Resources) Kimberly K. Hayden, Esq. Paul Frank + Collins PC (for Public Service Company of New Hampshire)
Judge PanelAnthony Z. Roisman, Margaret Cheney Judges
Case DateJanuary 20, 2021

Petition of Public Service Company of New Hampshire, d/b/a Eversource Energy, for a non-substantial change determination that a certificate of public good, pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 248, is not required for installation of lightning arrestors on 24 H-frame structures along Eversource's 115 kV electric transmission line located in the Towns of Waterford and Concord, Vermont

No. 20-3431-PET

State of Vermont, Public Service Board

January 20, 2021

Daniel C. Burke, Esq. Vermont Department of Public Service (for Vermont Department of Public Service)

Donald J. Einhorn, Esq. Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (for Vermont Agency of Natural Resources)

Kimberly K. Hayden, Esq. Paul Frank + Collins PC (for Public Service Company of New Hampshire)

ORDER REGARDING REQUEST FOR A NON-SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE DETERMINATION

ELIZABETH SCHILLING, ESQ. HEARING OFFICER

In this Order, the Vermont Public Utility Commission adopts the following Proposal for Decision.

Proposal for Decision

I. Introduction

In this Order, I recommend that the Vermont Public Utility Commission ("Commission") conclude that, subject to conditions, the work proposed by the Public Service Company of New Hampshire, d/b/a Eversource Energy ("Eversource"), to install lightning arrestors on 24 H-frame structures along Eversource's 115 kV electric transmission line (the "Project") located in the Towns of Waterford and Concord, Vermont, does not represent a substantial change under Commission Rule 5.408 and therefore does not require a certificate of public good ("CPG") under 30 V.S.A. § 248.

II. Procedural History

On November 10, 2020, Eversource filed a petition with the Commission for a non-substantial change determination that a CPG is not required to install lightning arrestors on 24 H-frame structures along Eversource's 115 kV electric transmission line located in the Towns of Waterford and Concord, Vermont.

On November 18, 2020, the Commission issued a memorandum requesting that any comments on the petition be filed by December 2, 2020.

On December 2, 2020, the Vermont Department of Public Service ("Department") filed comments on the Project in which it stated that it does not object to Eversource's petition. The Department noted that the transmission line predates Section 248 and is not subject to a CPG, and that treating the work as a non-substantial change determination is consistent with the Commission's May 7, 2015, Order in Docket 8487, which approved improvements to the same transmission facility as a non-substantial change determination.1

Also, on December 2, 2020, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources ("ANR") filed comments on the Project in which it stated that Eversource had not identified acceptable avoidance measures sufficient for ANR to conclude that the Project would not result in undue adverse impacts on necessary wildlife habitat; endangered species; and rare, threatened, and endangered plant species. ANR stated that it was amenable to working with Eversource to develop mutually acceptable conditions to ensure the Project would not result in undue adverse impacts on the natural environment.

No other comments were filed.

On December 3, 2020, Eversource filed a letter requesting a stay of the proceeding to allow Eversource to consult with ANR.

On December 3, 2020, an order was issued staying the proceeding.

On January 11, 2021, Eversource filed a memorandum of understanding ("MOU") entered between Eversource and ANR stipulating to specific conditions to avoid undue adverse impacts on necessary wildlife habitat; endangered species; and rare, threatened, and endangered plant species.

No party requested an evidentiary hearing or objected to the prefiled testimony and exhibits. Accordingly, the following prefiled testimony and exhibits are admitted as if presented at a hearing: Timothy Upton testimony, and Catie Burns testimony and exhibits Attachment A through Attachment C Part 4. Additionally, Eversource's Petition and the MOU are entered into evidence subject to timely objection by the parties.2

III. Findings

Pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 8(c), and based upon the record and evidence before me, I present the following proposed findings of fact to the Commission.

1. Eversource owns and operates a 115 kV, wood H-frame electric transmission line, constructed circa 1958, and located between Eversource's Whitefield Substation in Whitefield, New Hampshire, and its Littleton Substation in Littleton, New Hampshire. Approximately nine miles of the line go through the Towns of Concord and Waterford, Vermont. Catie Burns, Petitioner ("Burns") pf. at 1.

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