Make us your home page

On the path of power lines

Spring Hill resident Ruth Chudoba, center, talks with Progress Energy’s Bill Moye to find out where the power lines will be in relation to her home. Chudoba joined hundreds of residents for a meeting at the Silverthorn Country Club in Spring Hill on Monday.

Spring Hill resident Ruth Chudoba, center, talks with Progress Energy’s Bill Moye to find out where the power lines will be in relation to her home. Chudoba joined hundreds of residents for a meeting at the Silverthorn Country Club in Spring Hill on Monday.

SPRING HILL — Hundreds of Hernando County residents packed a Progress Energy open house Monday afternoon hoping to learn more about how they could be affected by a proposed power transmission line project.

The gathering was the first of two informational sessions the utility will have in Hernando County, with the second today from 3 to 7 p.m. at Silverthorn Country Club.

The sessions provide residents the opportunity to look at maps and ask questions of company representatives. They follow others that have been held in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

"This is the biggest crowd we've had," said Progress Energy spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs, looking at a line that snaked out of the ballroom at the Silverthorn County Clubhouse and into the jammed parking lot Monday.

Crowds lingered around stations set up throughout the room, as people pointed at highlighted maps and computer screens.

Progress Energy plans to expand its transmission capability through 10 Florida counties, from Levy to Polk. The 200 miles of lines would carry high-voltage electricity from a proposed nuclear plant in Levy County and from the company's complex in Crystal River.

Nearly 23,000 Hernando residents recently received letters from the company notifying them of the project and of the open houses.

Preliminary plans in Hernando call for using the existing routes that cut through heavily populated Spring Hill, or running new lines along the Suncoast Parkway. New lines could also go up along Citrus Way in the northern part of the county.

If the company chooses to construct new lines, it would need a strip up to 250 feet to build them. When it comes to existing lines, the amount of land needed for such a project is unclear.

In those cases, the company has said that sometimes additional rights of way are needed, and sometimes they are not.

Manuel and Lucy Fernandez stood in line for a half hour with other residents on Monday to have their address entered into a computer to show how close their home is to one of the proposed transmission areas. They received their letter in the mail from the company on Friday.

The couple lives in the Woodland Waters subdivision off U.S. 19, close to one of the existing power line paths. They found out they were 175 feet from where the proposed power line right of way begins.

Along with fears of property devaluation if the company chooses to expand the lines near their home, they were also concerned about possible health effects of living even closer to the power lines.

"I can understand that we need energy," Manuel Fernandez said. "But what I don't understand is why I saved all of my money from years of working in the military, in the New York City Police Department when this could happen. I saved everything I worked for."

Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden showed up at Monday's event, irked that the company didn't approach the commission about the proposed project before holding the informational sessions.

"I didn't start hearing about this until this weekend," Rowden said. "It would have been nice to make a presentation to the County Commission that might have relieved a lot of anxiety and fear about what's going on. But instead, they've created chaos here with not enough parking."

Construction is to begin in 2012 with the approval of state agencies, and completion is expected in 2016.

The lines are being planned in three main segments: from the proposed nuclear plant in Levy County to the Leesburg area in Lake County; from Levy County south to Hernando County and potentially into Pasco and Pinellas counties; and from Tarpon Springs to Kathleen in Polk County.

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at, or (352) 848-1432.

.if you go

Another chance to look, ask

Progress Energy will have another open house today from 3 to 7 p.m. at Silverthorn Country Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane, Spring Hill. Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to attend.

There will also be a session from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the National Guard Armory, 8551 W Venable St. in Crystal River.

Those who are unable to attend the sessions or have additional questions may get information online at, e-mail or leave a message toll-free at 1-888-238-0373.

On the path of power lines 03/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 3, 2008 7:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]