Board denies JCP&L’s bid for power line along rail tracks

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TRENTON -

State regulators have rejected the attempt of one of the state's utility companies to build a power transmission line alongside rail tracks in Monmouth County.

Friday's unanimous vote by the Board of Public Utilities means Jersey Central Power & Light can't move forward with a plan to build the 10-mile-long, high-voltage line between Aberdeen and Red Bank.

The board followed the recommendation made by a judge in March.

Many residents of towns adjoining the proposed line formed a group to protest the plan over the years.

“I am very relieved. I feel very vindicated that the proposal that we have felt for two years never should have seen the light of day was denied,” says Residents Against Giant Electric president Rachael Kanapka.

The board noted two main reasons for denying JCP&L’s plan – the company used 7-year-old data in its analysis and the trends show that the demand for power along the corridor will actually drop.

“We proved that if you put your mind to something and you have a goal and a mission, you can make it happen,” says Hazlet Deputy Mayor Sue Kiley.

The plan also was opposed by U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Chris Smith. In a statement Friday, Pallone called the plan "misguided."

JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano says in a statement, “JCP&L will carefully review the BPU written order before determining its next steps. Delivering safe and reliable service to meet customer needs in Monmouth County and throughout its 13 county service area is JCP&L's top priority."

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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