March 12, 2015 – ITC Holdings acquired the rights to the Lake Erie Connector from Lake Erie Power Corp in June 2014. The connector is a $1 billion project, that would install a high voltage, 73-mile-long, direct-current transmission line from a converter station in Ontario to one in Conneaut Township.

The company presented their plans to the public Thursday at Girard High School, to inform the public of their plans and to answer any questions.

“What this project means for the people of Erie County is a longer-term more reliable grid, more robust grid to serve not only Pennsylvania but other states in the region,” said Bob Doetsche, senior communications specialist for ITC Holdings. “This project will allow excess power generating capacity that’s in Ontario right now looking for a place to go in a more direct into the United States via Erie County. This project is privately funded and so ratepayers won’t see anything on their bill with this.”

The Connector will be buried under Lake Erie, and will also come on land in Erie County for about 7 miles, following existing road patterns near the Lake Erie Shoreline.

“It’s bringing abundant electricity generated up in Canada to the United States,” said Mike Ivester, with ITC. “It can be a different source of electricity to the area so if there’s an outage or a problem somewhere else they would be able to supply that. We are doing whatever we can to minimize impact to the land or the lake. We will actually be a business operating in a county, in the state where we will end up paying taxes.”

ITC does not generate, sell or distribute the power but rather, facilitates its transmission. For one resident at Thursday’s open house, this line is good news.

“I’m excited that direct-current is being utilized in my market, my hometown because direct-current is the technology used worldwide for distributing power,” said Tim Martinson, who owns a consulting firm called dcFusion. “Direct-current is a more cost-effective, more reliable way to distribute power and actually to generate power. I’m just excited to see how well prepared they are, how far along in the process they are and how they are connected to the global initiatives.”

The next step? Ivester says more permits are being written and approved, which will take months. They expect construction to begin next year in 2016, and last until 2019 when they expect the Connector to be fully operating, providing power to many states on the eastern seaboard.