Edison installing power line to Williams County 7.1.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A new high-voltage line that will soon pass high above the north side of Fayette will stay out of reach for local electricity users.

Instead, it’s Williams County residents who will benefit from the power source as communities served by municipal systems will buy the electricity at rates below what Fayette pays.

Preparations for the 17-mile line began months ago when Toledo Edison’s real estate division began seeking easements from property owners along the route.

“It’s been going very well,” said Edison’s Gary Keys.

Fulton County easements are nearly all in place, he said, and the majority of those from Williams County have been signed.

The new line will benefit some Edison customers along the way, Keys said, because in addition to the high voltage transmission line, there will be a smaller distribution line that can be tapped to increase power at a farm, for example, where additional electricity is needed to run a grain dryer.

Discussion about the line started about 11 years ago, Keys said, when Edison’s parent company, First Energy, agreed to provide a new power source for Williams County.

The primary need for power is Menard’s manufacturing and distribution facility under construction in Holiday City, but benefits of the new line go beyond that.

Pioneer mayor Ed Kidston is delighted to have the new system coming and says it will benefit both First Energy and the municipal power systems in Pioneer, Bryan, Edgerton and Montpelier.

“These municipalities purchase their power through AMP-Ohio on a wholesale level,” he explained. “This energy comes from various suppliers.”

AMP-Ohio (American Municipal Power-Ohio) is a nonprofit corporation that coordinates and negotiates power supply options.

Years ago the four Williams County communities formed their own joint venture to set up a network of municipal systems that receives power from the south.

With the new line in place, Pioneer and Holiday City will use the First Energy system as their primary source of power and the existing line will serve as a backup. Bryan, Edgerton and Montpelier will now have the new line to serve as their backup.

The new 69 kilovolt line will start at Edison’s substation east of Fayette on U.S. 20 and travel north to County Road S. From there the line will follow County Road S into Williams County. The line will eventually dip back down to U.S. 20 and travel toward Pioneer. Pioneer will need to extend a line about two miles east to tie into the system.

The line will then travel down County Road 16 and end east of Holiday City, where another municipal line will be constructed to tie in.

Progress

All new, taller utility poles will be set along the route, said Edison’s Trent Dominque who oversees Edison’s Fulton County lines. A few existing poles in the Fayette area can be used and workers were clearing old lines last week on the north side of Fayette.

“We’ve got about the first mile and a half completed from U.S. 127,” Dominique said.

Kidston said he expects the system to be operational a year from now, and Keys believes Edison’s portion of the work could be complete by the end of the year.

The substation on U.S. 20 must still be upgraded to handle the increase in capacity.

A 69 kV line will feed directly into Menard’s, Keys said, which pales to the energy devoured by NorthStar Steel (349 kV) but far exceeds the energy consumption of Fayette, which is closer to 12 kV.

This leads to the differential in prices for power, Keys said.

“Any time you have a large entity that can buy bulk power in large quantities, there can be a negotiated price,” he said.

“We have the ability to buy power at wholesale,” Kidston said. “We own our own distribution lines.”

As a member of AMP-Ohio, Pioneer owns portions of several energy production facilities and pays transmission costs to various companies.

Electricity is delivered throughout the community via a distribution system that’s owned and maintained by the village, Kidston said. All the services for the customer are taken care of by the village, rather than relying on Edison.

He understands the frustration that Fayette residents might feel when they’re buying power at a higher price from an investor-owned utility—he knows someone who lives just outside of Pioneer and pays much higher rates—but he also knows there are some reasons for the difference in costs.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017