Appalachian Power (APCo) has announced a proposed power line route for the Independence Area Project in Grayson County.

Company representatives said they expect construction to begin in spring 2023 and conclude by summer 2024.

The proposed 15-mile transmission line and substation provide a second power source to customers served out of the Independence substation to reduce extended power interruptions. These improvements also support a planned substation in the Baywood area and enhance area electric reliability.

“This area is currently served from one transmission line. Having a second power source provides a backup to continuously serve customers in the event of an outage,” said George Porter, APCo spokesperson.

Company representatives said they determined the proposed power line route after reviewing land use, environmental impact and community input, following APCo’s project announcement and in-person open house for citizens last November.

The proposed transmission line route begins at the proposed Point Lookout Substation off Austin Street, just west of North Independence Avenue/Route 21 and near the existing Independence Substation.

The proposed route parallels APCo’s existing 69-kV transmission line for approximately 3 miles traveling northeast, then travels east for 3 miles and crosses the New River. The line route continues east for another 6 miles, then turns north and travels 3 miles to the company’s existing Jubal Early Substation located off Windmill Road.

APCo said its right-of-way representative plans to contact directly-involved landowners to discuss next steps. The project team plans to submit the project to the Town of Independence for local approval later this year.

Locally, Grayson County Board of Supervisors member and AEP employee Kenneth Belton said the improvements would benefit the county now and in the future, in terms of serving citizens and attracting businesses.

Because the improvements will create a redundant power source to fall back on if the other one fails, Belton said, “It’s going to be a win-win for the county, because it’s going to be more dependable power. We as a county lost a revenue source when a company, years ago, was looking at Grayson County, but we didn’t have a redundant power source and so they went to North Carolina.”

With the dual lines offering redundant power, Grayson will “have a second source to feed that substation that covers everything east, west and south of Independence, all the way to Troutdale,” Belton said. He noted that the more distant parts of the county “suffer power outages all the time.”

Despite being a point of contact for both the county and the power company, Belton said he’s not the person who brought it to pass. “I’ve been working with them on right-of-ways, but I’m not the reason it’s happening,” he said. “I’ve just been working with the AEP engineers on his project.”

Belton joked, “They say it’s because I know everybody in Grayson County, but I don’t know about that.”

Finally, he said, the project is “making everything better for the county. The substation’s been there for a long time and it needs an upgrade.”

Visit AppalachianPower.com/Independence to view an interactive map of the proposed power line route and find additional information about the project.