Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, the staff of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas and the City of Frisco, among other parties, on Feb. 16 submitted a settlement stipulation to the PUC regarding the route for a proposed 138-kV transmission line.
As noted in the filing, Brazos Electric in January 2015 filed an application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build a transmission line and substation, known as the Stonebrook Transmission and Substation Project, in order to address the need for increased transmission services to Denton County Electric Cooperative, doing business as CoServ Electric. The project is located entirely in Denton County in both the City of Frisco and the Town of Little Elm.
The PUC administrative law judges (ALJs) last November issued their proposal for decision, approving the project and recommending that it be built on Route 5. However, discussions between the parties have resulted in the stipulation concerning the stipulation route as the route for construction of the project, the parties added.
The parties agree that the PUC should amend Brazos Electric’s CCN to allow the construction and operation of the project on the stipulation route, according to certain terms.
The parties also said that they agree that the settlement is in the public interest and that a reasonable alternative for the proposed transmission line is the stipulation route, defined as and composed of a hybrid route of underground and overhead transmission line segments, including: Tap 1 – Segment 8 – Segment 7 – Segment 5 – Segment 4 – Segment 3 – Segment 2 – Substation North.
All stipulation route segments are located underground, with the exception of Segment 2, which is located partially overhead and partially underground.
The stipulation route is estimated to cost about $24.5m, and is a new approximately 2.9-mile, 138-kV transmission line extending west from an existing Oncor Electric Delivery Company 138-kV transmission line tap to a new Stonebrook substation, the parties added.
The parties noted that Frisco agrees to perform certain tasks and functions designated as “F” for the costs detailed in the Division of Costs and Labor. Frisco will pay such costs directly to the construction contractor as they come due, presently estimated to be about $1.6m. The parties added that if Frisco fails to pay for any of those specific items, or is ultimately unable to perform the tasks, such that Frisco’s construction contribution decreases, Frisco’s total payment to Brazos Electric will increase by a corresponding amount.
Frisco will be responsible for payment of about $10.8m to Brazos Electric, subject to approval by the PUC. As partial payment of the Frisco contribution, Frisco is to pay Brazos Electric the sum of $1m within 15 days after the later of the date of the PUC’s final order in the docket (Docket No. 44060), or the date of CoServ’s payment to Frisco of the franchise fees due for the calendar year 2015.
The balance of the Frisco contribution is to paid by Frisco to Brazos Electric on or before the earlier of 15 months after the date of the PUC’s final order in the docket, or the date that Frisco’s Main Street widening and water line improvement project is advertised for bid, the parties said.
The construction of Brazos Electric’s project is estimated to be completed within 27 months of the date of the PUC’s final order in the docket, while the construction of Frisco’s Main Street project is estimated to be completed within 39 months of the date of the PUC’s final order in the docket. In the event that Frisco fails to perform any of its obligations, provided that such failure is within Frisco’s control, then the route to be built is to revert to overhead Route 5 as approved by the ALJs without further order of the PUC, the parties said.
Among other things, the parties said that Frisco agrees to provide Brazos Electric with an easement without compensation to build the line underground or overhead under the conditions of the stipulation.
The filing also included a proposed order, which noted, for instance, that Brazos Electric is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the proposed transmission line, as well as conduct a cultural resource survey and submit the survey results to the Texas Historical Commission and the Rural Utilities Service for review and approval before construction begins.