EKPC picks north for mall substation

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Company says it is close to acquiring needed land

By Cameron Koch

East Kentucky Power Cooperative is moving to secure a place on the north side of Interstate 64 for its new energy substation in Simpsonville, a company official said Tuesday.

The substation, requested and planned by EKPC in order to serve the power needs for the Outlet Shoppes of Louisville, the outlet mall under construction on Buck Creek and Veechdale Roads, south of I-64, will include running large, 69-kilovolt lines from the current substation about 3.5 miles east, near Exit 32 of I-64.

The company will need to purchase about 1.5 acres to house the new substation, something EKPC is in the process of doing.

“We are focusing on a site north.…We’re close, but we don’t have the deed yet,” said Nick Comer, external affairs manager for EKPC.

That northern site should bring some sighs of relief from many homeowners in the Hunter’s Point development south of I-64, who had feared a location in that area would require the large towers needed to carry those high-voltage lines would be built near their homes.

But the exact location for the lines is yet to be determined until the substation location is completed.

Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden in April had written a letter to EKPC endorsing a site on the north side of I-64 because there is a more natural utility corridor there, where West Shelby Water has a tower and the city’s sewer system has a connection behind the Shelby County Flea Market and the Kingbrook Industrial Park.

Simpsonville City Administrator David Eaton said Tuesday that he was aware EKPC was focusing on a site north of I-64 but that he didn’t know the specific property.

EKPC is in negotiations with property owners for the placement of the new lines, though no agreements have been confirmed, Comer said.

“The first step is to obtain easements, or right of way, to put those lines up,” he said. “We’re not to that point yet.”

Property owners who would have power lines running through their property would retain rights to their land and use of their property. Future maintenance on the lines are minimal, Comer said, so property owners would not have to worry about construction or inconvenience after the initial installation. However, there are some restrictions that come with the deal.

“In the easement area, they [property owners] can’t build structures, they can’t have trees that grow up into the lines, so there are some restrictions in the easement area,” he said.

Both the substation and the line service are scheduled to be completed by EKPC before next spring, in accordance with a project schedule that is being used by Shelby Energy, a member and part owner of EKPC that serves that area, and Horizon Group Properties, developers of the outlet mall.