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$80 million investment will improve power conditions in Southwest Virginia

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ROANOKE (WSLS10) - Appalachian Power is investing $80 million in Southwest Virginia.

The money will improve the power company's transmission grid, which will increase reliability for customers.

Most of the work will be done in Bland and Wythe counties.

The upgrades are possible thanks to the Virginia State Corporation Commission approving the project.

Read the full release below.

APPALACHIAN POWER RECEIVES SCC APPROVAL FOR TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

ROANOKE, Va., June 16, 2016 – Appalachian Power has received approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to improve part of its transmission grid in southwest Virginia.

The Bland Area Improvements Project will upgrade about 20 miles of transmission line, adding 5 miles of new transmission line and building a substation to support the local distribution of power in Bland County, Va.

Most of the work will be done in Bland and Wythe counties in Virginia. About 1 mile of the existing line extends into Mercer County, W.Va. The project essentially runs from the South Bluefield Substation to the Progress Park Substation near Wytheville, Va.

The approximately $80 million investment will increase reliability for local customers by replacing or updating aging infrastructure.

"Our goal is to balance the energy needs of the region while minimizing the effects on landowners and the environment," said Mary Begley, external affairs manager for Appalachian Power. "By establishing an early line of communication and working closely with the community, the information and feedback the company received allowed us to submit an application to the SCC that is the best possible route for the project."

Most of the project will be done within existing right-of-way, but company representatives will begin contacting affected landowners to acquire any necessary easements. Construction is expected to start later this year once additional federal, state and local permits are received. Additional information about the project, including the SCC's Final Order and route maps, is available at www.AppalachianPower.com/Bland.