Historic black neighborhood may be spared from Dominion Energy power line

Power lines on blue sky.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Tomasz Wyszoamirski)
WASHINGTON — After a community outcry and a petition to state regulators, the plan for a controversial power-transmission line through a Prince William County neighborhood appears close to being scrapped in favor of a new route.

It is becoming less likely a 230-kilovolt transmission line connecting Amazon’s Haymarket, Virginia, data center to the power grid will run through the historic black Gainesville neighborhood on Carver Road, said Chuck Penn, a spokesman with Dominion Energy.

After two community groups petitioned state regulators to reconsider the need for the line, Penn said Dominion Energy filed a response on Aug. 16, 2017 alerting the state corporation commission it “likely will have no choice” but to ask to build the transmission line along Interstate 66 instead.

Now Penn said the company is waiting on the groups’ response to the filing, so the State Corporation Commission can move forward in making a decision on its preferred route.

The fact his street might be spared does nothing to ease Nathan Grayson’s concerns, he told WTOP. Grayson is leading the Protest Against Powerlines, which opposes transmission lines running through any neighborhood.

“It’s either gonna take land or it’s going to give them a nice little popcorn machine to sit outside their window 24/7,” said Grayson, referring to the popping sound the transmission line cold make.

Grayson, who has lived his entire life on Carver Road, said the Alliance to Save Carver Road wants regulators to demand the utility bury the line, which Penn confirms is the most costly option.
Grayson said the group is still planning a protest Saturday at the Wal-Mart on Route 55 in Haymarket between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

“We’re planning to go out there to continue to spread the word at, this point in given time, that Amazon needs power and Dominion wants everybody else to pay,” Grayson.
Dominion Energy proposed building the transmission line three years ago to reach the Amazon data center, which is slated to be near a housing community still not constructed.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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