Driven by the power plant retirements scheduled in 2015, the Kanawha Valley Area Transmission Reinforcement Project will involve removal of existing transmission facilities and subsequent replacement with more modern structures and equipment of the same voltage that can carry about twice the capacity of the original lines.

Specifically, the project will focus on replacement of the existing 138kV facilities that were built in the 1920s-1940s with larger 138kV lines and other taller and heavier structures.

Approximately 80% of the transmission line rebuild is expected to be performed within or adjacent to existing rights of way.

The project will improve the reliability of the electric transmission grid and also prevent conditions that could cause thermal overloads without significantly impacting the public or the existing view shed, according to the Commission.

Even though, the cost is estimated to be $173m, the rate impact will be less than 15 cents a month for residential customers in West Virginia as the cost is spread among many states.

Construction is anticipated to complete in 2017.