Westar 345-kV line energized in Kansas

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) and its wholly owned subsidiary Kansas Gas and Electric, together “Westar,” told FERC that a 345-kV transmission line from the Rose Hill substation near Rose Hill, Kan., to the Kansas/Oklahoma border was energized on April 27.

According to Westar’s May 29 filing, the line connects with a line that was built by OGE Energy‘s (NYSE:OGE) regulated electric utility, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), from the Kansas/Oklahoma border to OG&E’s Sooner substation, located north of the Sooner plant in Noble County, Okla. These two portions of the line combined are referred to as the Rose Hill to Sooner line, Westar said, adding that the new high-capacity line is an essential expansion of the transmission network to serve Westar’s retail and wholesale customers as well electric users throughout Kansas and the region.

As with all of Westar’s transmission system, the company has transferred functional control of the new transmission line to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the line is subject to SPP’s open access transmission tariff’s (OATT) terms and conditions.

“The SPP determined that the Rose Hill to Sooner line was needed in order for Westar’s customers to utilize on a long-term firm basis, the energy from Westar’s recently acquired Spring Creek combustion turbine plant near Edmund, [Okla.,] and to provide other transmission service in the SPP,” Westar said.

Furthermore, the line will improve performance and reliability in the region because a substantial portion of the new line is proposed to be built on existing right-of-way, thereby allowing for various lower voltage lines to be rebuilt and upgraded as part of the project.

Westar also said that the Rose Hill to Sooner line is part of a Kansas long-range expansion plan that, when completed, will provide a new transmission path from Nebraska to Oklahoma.

The company said the addition of the new 345-kV line has no impact on the horizontal market power analysis.

Regarding the vertical market power standard, Westar noted that new transmission transactions, as well as transmission for its retail customers and most of its grandfathered transactions are made under the SPP OATT.

All other facts stated in Westar’s most recent triennial market power study and relied upon by FERC to grant Westar continued market-based rate authority in its first-tier control areas – excluding Midwest – and in Westar’s Sept. 23, 2010, change in status filing remain the same.

Furthermore, Westar said it continues to satisfy FERC’s other-barriers-to-entry standard for approval of market-rate authority, noting that the only change to its control over generation sites since its last market power analysis was the acquisition of one generation site that was reported in a quarterly generation site filing made in July 2010.

“Westar states that it has not erected barriers to entry into the relevant market and will not erect barriers to entry into the relevant market,” the company said.

Westar concluded saying that its placement of the new line into service does not materially change the facts upon which FERC relied to grant it market-based rate authority in its first-tier control areas, excluding the Midwest.

On July 24, FERC told Westar its notice of change in status is accepted for filing and that the submittal satisfies the commission’s requirements for market-based rate authority regarding vertical market power.

FERC said no comments, protests or interventions regarding the May filing were filed.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.