Charles Ramer, left, Meiserville, talks with Deb Kache of PPL, as they look over maps where high voltage lines will be placed from Richfield to Dalmatia.

MOUNT PLEASANT MILLS — Add John Fultz to the list of residents on each side of the Susquehanna River to oppose a 12-mile power line planned by PPL.

The Liverpool man, among dozens of Valley residents to attend the electric provider's second open house Wednesday night, said he does not want to "sit back and watch the community get stomped on by the same company who increased everybody's rates."

Residents attending the meeting about a new 69-kilovolt power line running from Richfield to Dalmatia expressed concerns and tried to learn how much of their land would be overtaken by steel poles.

Fultz, a supervisor in Susquehanna Township, Juniata County, said his main concern is that the line will cross over a portion of a family owned tire recycling business in his jurisdiction. If there was ever a fire there, "just the mist off the firefighters' water would electrocute anybody on the property."

Nick Soccio, an aide for state Rep. Adam Harris, R-82, of Mifflintown, said Harris is proposing that the line be pushed farther to the right so the tire business would not be affected.

"We're working both with PPL and the constituents to find a solution that is best for both parties involved," Soccio said.

But that's not Fultz's only concern. PPL, he believes, chose this path for the new line because it was open land, and in his township, only one landowner would be affected.

"We're a small township. Our resources are limited," Fultz said, "but in the future, this (land) is one resource we have."

Thirty to 40 years in the future, he said, the community would have had the opportunity to create business and draw more residents and money to the area.

Said Ron Mauer, of Dalmatia: "It's going to totally affect our way of life."

The power line, he said, will cross 10 to 12 acres of his property, and will go right through his Christmas tree fields. People come each year to experience the tradition of finding a tree and cutting it down for their family, he said.

"They don't come there to look at a power line," Mauer said.

A Mount Pleasant Mills resident, who wished not to be identified, said he knew the line was coming, but he didn't know where it was going.

He was pleased to learn that the line would not take over his woodlands as much as he had feared.

However, Harold Meiser, of Meiserville, Snyder County, said Wednesday that PPL would be building the line over a half-mile of his property. Three to four poles would be installed on his land, he said. He came to the open house to find what damage would be incurred.

"They have complete say," Meiser said. "The bottom line is, they have their way of doing things."

PPL officials tried to convince attendees that it was there to hear concerns, and would be willing to make minor changes to the line, if possible.

"Nobody," said Howard Slugocki, of PPL, "wants a line through their property."

However, the area of Snyder, Juniata and Northumberland counties, he said, are home to PPL's longest circuit in its coverage area of 1.4 million customers. That area consists of only one of the company's 1,100 feeders. In the past eight years, he said, the counties have experienced numerous power outages.

"You never want to give your land away," said Michael Wendt, of Mount Pleasant Mills, who discovered the line would take over three acres of woodlands on his property, "but you can't stop progress, either."

An employee in the electric industry, he understands that America needs more infrastructure.

"It just happens that it's on my land," he said with a shrug.

He had planned on building a cabin in that area of his land, he said, but will now just have to change the location.

"It's an adjustment," he said.

The line will connect the Sunbury-Dauphin line and the Sunbury-Richfield line, giving PPL more flexibility and backup when outages occur. The new connection will benefit more than 30,000 customers, PPL officials say.

"We can't stop the outages," Slugocki said, "but we can minimize the impact that any outage has."

A new substation in Meiserville will make electric service more reliable for people on the western part of Snyder County, Slugocki said.

The line will cost $11.5 million, and will be installed by fall 2012.

More information on the new line is available by visiting www.richfielddalmatiaproject.com or by calling (888) 266-0146.

Another open house will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Hickory Corners and Community Fire Company, 1124 Hickory Road, Dalmatia.

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