The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas has referred the docket involving Sharyland Utilities’ proposed 138-kV transmission line in Martin and Midland counties to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
The PUC requested the assignment of an administrative law judge to conduct a hearing and issue a proposal for decision, if such is necessary in the event one or more issues are contested by the parties.
As noted in the order, Sharyland last November filed an application with the PUC to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity for the line. The proposed project is designated as the Tall City to Glass 138-kV Transmission Line Project, and the new line will connect the existing Tall City substation in Midland County to the existing Glass substation located in Martin County. The total estimated cost for the project ranges from about $12.9m to $13.8m, depending on the route chosen. The proposed project, the PUC added, is presented with 11 alternate routes and is estimated to be about 13.01 miles to 13.16 miles long.
ERCOT has not deemed the transmission line as critical to the reliability of the ERCOT system.
The PUC also noted that it must render a decision approving or denying an application for a certificate within one year of the date of filing a complete application for such certificate. Therefore, a PUC decision must be issued by Nov. 13.
The PUC further noted that issues that must be addressed in the docket (Docket No. 45308), include whether Sharyland’s application to amend its CCN is adequate and whether the application contains an adequate number of reasonably differentiated alternative routes to conduct a proper evaluation.
In terms of need, issues that must be addressed include whether the proposed facilities are necessary for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public, and whether the project is the better option to meet the need when compared to employing distribution facilities.
Regarding the route, issues that must be addressed include whether there are alternative routes or facilities configurations that would have a less negative impact on landowners.
An issue that should not be addressed in the proceeding involves what is the appropriate compensation for right of way or condemnation of property, as the PUC does not have the authority to adjudicate or set the amount of compensation for ROWs or for condemnation, the PUC said.
As TransmissionHub reported, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), in Jan. 8 comments filed with the PUC, recommended that the PUC select a route that would minimize adverse impacts to natural resources, such as Route F, for the proposed line.