An energy company with a plan to develop a new overhead electric transmission project in Pennsylvania and Maryland to increase consumer access will host a series of open houses next week to gain feedback on the proposal.

Locally, an open house will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, in the Kauffman Community Center.

This is the second phase of public review before Transource Energy determines proposed routes for the Independence Energy Connection to file with state regulators.

The western section of the Independence Energy Connection has several potential routes from the existing substation near Ringgold in Maryland to a new substation to be built north of Chambersburg. The eastern segment is in York County.

Totaling $320 million, the project includes approximately 40 miles of new 230-kilovolt (kV) overhead transmission lines, two new substations and additional upgrades to integrate the facilities into the grid. The new transmission lines will connect to two existing 500 kV  transmission lines in Pennsylvania to substations in Maryland and provide two new additional pathways to alleviate electric gridlock and increase consumer access to low-cost electricity.

“The comments we receive play an active role in our decision-making process to determine a proposed route. Additionally, based on feedback, we are now considering the use of a steel monopole in addition to lattice structures,” said Todd Burns, Transource director. “We encourage people to continue to participate in the process.”

PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission operator for 13 states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, identified the need for the project and estimates that it will save the region’s customers more than $600 million in electric costs in the first 15 years.

The company plans to announce a proposed route and file applications to construct the project with state regulators by the end of the year. Construction of the IEC is expected to begin in 2019, with a project in-service date of mid-2020. Additional information can be found on the project website at www.TransourceEnergy.com/Projects/Independence.

Open houses are planned:

Monday, Aug. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Smithsburg Middle School

Tuesday, Aug. 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Kauffman Community Center

Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Norrisville Elementary School, White Hall, Md.

Thursday, Aug. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove