Everybody look what's going down
This afternoon, PATH auctioned off its last remaining properties in the tri-state area that it senselessly purchased for a high-voltage transmission line that was never built and never even needed.
PATH paid $8,714,553 for the seven parcels of land that were auctioned today. The total auction sales today amounted to $1,240,100. This leaves a delta of $7,474,453. And who pays for that? You do. I do. Every one of PJM's 65 million ratepayers pays a share.
But that's not all. We've also paid PATH a return (interest) on these properties ever since they were purchased. We continued to pay a return on these properties even after PATH was abandoned in 2012. While PATH marketed and sold some of the properties it owned during the last 5 years, it never marketed the very expensive substation properties. Instead, PATH told federal regulators it was going to transfer these properties to its affiliates "in the future."
Well, the future finally arrived today, and the Kemptown substation site was sold to the highest bidder. PATH was so anxious to have the site that it paid $6,830,553 for it back in 2008. Wanna know what it fetched at auction? You're a glutton for punishment, aren't you? The proposed Kemptown substation site sold for only $960,000. That's a difference of $5,870,553. I think perhaps PATH overpaid, and then failed to get a good price for it by complete and utter failure to market the property. But why should they? You picked up the tab, and the more PATH spent, the more it made.
PATH also sold a couple of lots on Big Woods Road. It purchased the lots for $860,000. The lots sold for $105,000. That's a loss of $755,000.
PATH sold the last two of several lots it spent $4.5M purchasing at Rivers Edge Subdivision in Loudoun County for the purpose of trying to force the release of a conservation easement held by the county. Lot 5, containing 17 acres, with a 500kV transmission line cutting it right in half, fetched a whopping $64,000. PATH paid $285,000 for the same lot back in 2009. That's a loss of $221,000.
Lot 12 in Rivers Edge, an irregularly shaped lot consisting of 43 acres chopped all to hell and back by the same 500 kV transmission line went for $111,000. PATH paid $689,000 for it. That's a loss of $578,000.
And, finally, just over half an acre of West Virginia property bisected by a subdivision road fetched a whopping $100. Yup, that's right. A piece of property PATH wanted so badly that it paid $50,000 for it has pretty much no value whatsoever. Not only does the new owner get to pay taxes on their purchase, but also subdivision road fees. What a bargain! This property is a loss of $49,900, but I think we should be thankful that we didn't have to pay anyone to take it.
So, who bought these properties? I don't know. The bidders were identified only by numbers. What will the new owners do with the properties? Who knows... but I think one of them is still zoned agricultural...
Is this what PJM means when they say, "PJM is charged with planning for the future so that consumers have the most cost-efficient power when they need it. This solution is the most reliable and cost effective and will save consumers million in the long run."? I'm pretty sure PJM said those same things about PATH. And PJM was wrong. And that's cost consumers millions in the long run. And what a long, long, loooooong run it's been.