Lebanon Utilities New 69 kV Electric Transmission Line

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Some questions must be answered regarding the Lebanon Utilities plans to construct a new 69 kV electric transmission line. This new 69 kV line will begin at the central substation, which is located in the 400 block of East Elm Street near the intersection with Evans Street. The 69 kV line is expected to follow a southeast path to the intersection of Indianapolis Avenue and CR 100 S near the 4-H Fairgrounds. The 69 kV line will then apparently proceed east along CR 100 S almost to CR 300 E.

New 69 kV transmission lines are typically built on a mix of steel and wood poles approximately 65 feet tall. The span between poles generally is 220 feet to 400 feet, depending upon the location of any existing power lines. Below is a picture of a 69 kV pole – note that it is somewhat taller and a lot wider than a street light.

Property values are likely to go down for those homes adjacent to where the new 69 kV transmission line will be constructed.

The Lebanon Utility Service Board on April 22 approved a contract with Spectrum Engineering to identify two or three alternate routes for the new 69 kV line, and to make a recommendation on a preferred route. Spectrum Engineering will also design the 69 kV line’s wood poles, materials, and steel poles (if they are needed), prepare the material and construction bid packages, evaluate the proposals, recommend a proposal, provide technical assistance during construction, and prepare as-built information once the project is completed.

The Lebanon Utility Service Board on May 6 approved a $235,000 contract with American Structurepoint to conduct public meetings, complete surveys, and negotiate with land owners for right-of-way purchases (the final actual right-of-way purchases will not be made by American Structurepoint). There will supposedly be a “series” of public meetings that focus on the affected neighborhoods starting this July. Construction on the new 69 kV line will begin Spring 2016 and finish December 2016. The new 69 kV line appears to be the $2,155,000 I-65 Area Transmission and Distribution project referenced in the 2012 Lebanon Utilities bond issue that resulted in an electric rate increase.

The new 69 kV line is described as a second 69 kV delivery point into the Lebanon Utilities electric system from the Duke Energy transmission lines. The new 69 kV line will be an independent 69 kV source such that if Lebanon Utilities loses the existing connection point with Duke (due to ice, storms, tornado, etc.) there will be a back-up (second) source to provide power into the electric system. The new 69 kV line will provide service to the central portions of Lebanon through Lebanon Utilities’ Central Substation and West Substation. At some point in time in the future “when demand requires it,” Lebanon Utilities will construct a new substation to help serve the Lebanon interchange area bordered by I-65, SR 39, and CR 250 S. It is planned that the new 69 kV line will provide service to this new Lebanon interchange substation. Lebanon Utilities states that the new 69 kV line “will vastly improve our system reliability and central city loads and in the future support new load growth.”

Some initial questions come to mind regarding the as yet unannounced plans to construct the new Lebanon Utilities 69 kV transmission line.

Is the back-up electric power source that will be provided by the new 69 kV line really needed at the present time since Lebanon Utilities has been operating decades without such a back-up source?

Isn’t the new 69 kV line just part of a build-it-and-they-will-come attempt to have Lebanon Utilities ratepayers subsidize hoped-for development in the Lebanon interchange area?

Aren’t there plenty of existing areas in Lebanon more suitable for development without taxpayer and utility ratepayer subsidies than the Lebanon interchange area?

Will Lebanon Utilities make a sincere effort to notify our neighbors in a timely manner about how the new 69 kV line will impact their homes?

Will Lebanon Utilities resort to eminent domain to build the new 69 kV line?

Will those whose homes that will be impacted by the new 69 kV line insist that their new elected officials investigate fully whether the new 69 kV line is really a legitimate need or just a developer-subsidizing want?

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This page was last updated on 03/25/16.