Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Transmission & Substation Project

Brazos Electric filed their application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on October 14, 2016. The case is PUC Docket No. 46429.

Brazos plans to construct a single five-acre site substation and approximately 2.04 to 4.96 miles of 138kV double circuit transmission line with single-pole structures. The proposal is known as the Kittyhawk Transmission Line and Substation Project. 

As part of their filing, Brazos identified 25 different route possibilities in Allen, McKinney, or Plano. Brazos specifically detailed six different routes that, in their opinion, best meet the PUC routing criteria. Three of these six routes involve transmission lines on SH 121 frontage in Allen and the other three routes are along SH 121 frontage in McKinney. Only one substation location and transmission line route will ultimately be selected for development and construction. 

Brazos does not have a preferred route and they are prepared to construct any route that the PUCT determines to be the best. The project will ultimately be paid for by ratepayers across the entire ERCOT grid, which is 90% or more of the electric ratepayers in Texas. 
As part of the required process through PUCT, Brazos Electric notified property and landowners within 300 feet of each of the currently proposed locations and conducted a public meeting in May. Since then, Brazos has sent two additional notifications and advised property owners of their right to participate in this docket. 

What is the Role of the PUCT?

The PUCT’s job is to decide whether a transmission line application should be approved and on which route the line should be constructed. The PUCT values input from affected property owners and encourages them to participate in this process by intervening in the docket.

The intervention period is open until November 28, 2016. Following the intervention period, the entire PUCT process will likely take up to 12 months. 

What is the City Doing?

The Allen City Council passed a Resolution on July 26, 2016, in opposition to this project and the City has engaged the services of an attorney who specializes in utility cases and has extensive experience dealing with cases at the PUCT.

The City officially filed a Motion to Intervene with the PUCT and encourages anyone who feels that this project may adversely impact their property to do so as well. 

City staff and the attorney have participated in multiple meetings with representatives from both Brazos and CoServ throughout the last several months. Mayor Stephen Terrell has personally met with the CoServ CEO and continually expresses his desire to protect the interests of the citizens of Allen and in particular the interests of the multiple neighborhoods along Ridgeview Drive.

In addition, City staff have attended several HOA meetings for the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed transmission lines to provide information about the project, the PUCT process, action taken by the City, and action available to residents.

What can Residents Do? 

The intervention Deadline is November 28, 2016.

Anyone who feels that their property may be affected by any of the proposed route segments or substation locations may request to “intervene” in the docket (PUC Docket No. 46429).

To become an intervenor, you must file a statement or fill out a Request to Intervene form with the PUCT by November 28, 2016. The statement should describe how the proposed transmission line and/or substation would affect your property. Intervenors are recognized by the PUCT as official parties in the case. They receive all procedural notifications and rights.

As of November 17, 2016, there are 84 separate filings regarding PUC Docket No. 46429. 
Detailed information about the PUCT process and how to become an intervenor can be found in this document from the PUCT.

Do Other Settlement Options Exist?

During Citizen’s Comments at the November 8 City Council meeting, the City of Allen was asked to pursue a settlement option to underground transmission lines. Reference was made to the recent case in Frisco that resulted in a negotiated settlement for a portion of a PUCT approved transmission line route there to be buried underground at a total cost of $24.4 million.

Historically, the PUCT has been very reluctant to approve any undergrounding of transmission lines due to the increased costs to all ratepayers. An important consideration in the Frisco case was the impact to existing development along Main Street and the fact that planned roadway improvements would create an opportunity to bury the lines resulting in some cost savings.

Of the $24.4 million cost, the City of Frisco will fund $12.4 million, in part, by increasing the CoServe utility franchise fee from 3 to 4%. Utility franchise fees are paid as a percentage of the revenue generated by its customer base within a designated service area (or city). 
While the City of Allen is open to investigate this and any other possible options if an Allen route becomes preferred through the PUCT process, it is too early and premature to commit to any specific course of action or settlement at this time. The City, with the assistance of a very experienced attorney, will remain actively involved in our PUCT case. 

Where can I Find Additional Information?

Detailed information about the proposed Kittyhawk Transmission Line and Substation Project, Brazos’ full CCN application, landowner rights information and forms, can all be found on the Brazos Electric Kittyhawk Project page.