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NIPSCO holding open house on new transmission lines


NIPSCO is beginning to plan for a new 100-mile electric transmission line that will terminate near Topeka, and is hosting open houses to give the public the opportunity to learn about the new line and the route.

The Topeka open house will be from 3-7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, at Tiffany’s Restaurant in Topeka. There will not be a formal presentation, allowing those interested to stop in at their convenience to talk with project personnel and get answers to any questions they may have about the project. On hand will be engineers, NIPSCO personnel, and real estate agents who can assist with questions on right-of-way issues.

The transmission line will start near Reynolds, Ind., go past Burr Oak, Ind., in Marshall County, and end at a substation near Topeka. 

According to Kathleen Szot,
external communications specialist for NIPSCO, the new transmission line is one of 17 in 12 states that were approved. Work on the line will begin 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2018.

“The new line is for future growth,” Szot said. A lot of that growth is coming from renewable energy sources that are being developed, Szot added. There is a wind energy conversion farm near Reynolds. There have also been plans for a small “wind farm” near Topeka.

The new transmission lines will link into existing lines, Szot stated.

The open house is the first of two planned, with a follow-up set for next summer to give updates on the lines.

Szot pointed out that NIPSCO is still looking at the possible route for the lines, which is why the public open houses are important so that they can route the line in the best way possible.

The project has an estimated cost of $270 million, according to NIPSCO. The line will consist of steel towers with a single, center pole that will be around 130 ft. high. The project will require a right of way of 200 ft. The steel towers will be about 880 ft. apart.

NIPSCO information noted that they see some direct benefits to customers, the local economy and the environment, including creation of new jobs, increase in property taxes paid to local governments, improved reliability, anticipated cost savings, and improving access to wind and solar energy sources.

It was noted that NIPSCO will only need to acquire right-of-way easements on the properties that the line will cross, and will not require NIPSCO to purchase property.

For those unable to attend the Topeka open house, there are open houses planned in:

Nappanee – Tuesday, Feb. 5, 3-7 p.m., Nappanee Elementary School.

Plymouth – Wednesday, Feb. 6, 4-7 p.m., Plymouth High School.

Monticello – Thursday, Feb. 7, 4-7 p.m., Best Western Brandywine.

The same information will be available at each open house.