As PPL (NYSE: PPL) Prepares to Unveil its Quarterly Statements on August 1st Pennsylvania Residents are Demanding to Know the Truth About PPL's Ambitious Expansion Plans in Pennsylvania

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Is PPL lying about the need for its huge 500 kV power lines? Pennsylvania residents want nothing more than the truth, and not in the form of empty assurances but hard evidence that clearly shows (1) that the new 500 kV lines are really needed, (2) that PPL's proposals are the "best of all alternatives and (3) that the PPL proposals are environmentally sound. Is this really too much to ask? With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, why is PPL limiting public review to a matter of weeks?

Is it possible that PPL is lying about the need for its huge 500 kV power lines? Pennsylvania residents are starting to think so. When asked to produce the technical evidence to support the need for these massive lines, PPL simply repeats that the new power lines are needed to meet growing demand for reliable power in the region and that without the new line there is "eminent danger" of overloads and possible blackouts on the power grid with a repetition of the "disastrous" blackout of August 2003. If this is true then why not provide the evidence.

At its meeting in Northampton PPL showed Residents maps where the scale of the proposed route is represented by a thin line representing a 20 foot width when in reality the power line footprint is expected to be 325 feet wide and the height of the towers at 150 feet will make them visible for miles. Thousands of acres of tress may need to be destroyed and the scenic beauty of the Blue Mountain will destroyed forever, to say nothing of the problem of building in a conservation area that includes the habitat of the endangered bog turtle or spraying vegetation in a prime water shed that thousands of homes depend on. Despite PPL promises to provide copies of the maps, no resident has reported having received any. One resident that asked for a copy of the database of the route coordinates was "promised" that the request would be considered but nothing has materialized so far.

Pennsylvania has a history of supporting the national interests but it is starting to look like PPL is lying about their real interest in adding new power lines. Their website states that it is about providing reliable power for Pennsylvania but the 2007 annual report on its web site makes it clear that its focus is shareholder value and that it is about generating cheap power in Pennsylvania and selling it to the Eastern Sea Board - so in reality it is simply about the money and exploiting lower costs in Pennsylvania. PPL appears to be committed to more and bigger power lines in Pennsylvania, if you would like to see what a massive 500 kV transmission line looks like type "500 kV electric transmission tower" into Google, now imagine one of these giants in your back yard or cutting across your neighborhood.

At the Northampton meeting PPL confirmed that if they do not have to condemn your property they are not obligated to offer any compensation for decreased property values and yes they will use eminent domain to acquire rights of way, if fact they are doing just that in Bucks County.

Local residents have realized that they need to work together to resist the destruction of their environment and the taking of their property by eminent domain to feed the profits of a very large corporation. The group is retaining legal council and is committed to ensuring that in its drive to deliver shareholder value PPL does not overlook or destroy the real estate values and the quality of life of local residents.

The group is holding its next public meeting on Wednesday August 6th at 6:00 pm at the Klecknersville Rangers Fire Hall on Mountain View Drive.

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Peter Benson

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