The Kansas Corporation Commission, in a March 15 order, issued to Westar Energy a certificate of convenience and authority for transmission rights only (TRO) for the transaction of business as an electric public utility in the territory, in relation to the company’s proposal to build a new double-circuit, 115-kV transmission line to connect the company’s Chapman Junction and Geary County substations.
As noted in Westar’s Feb. 21 application for the certificate, the company will install a single-circuit, 115-kV transmission line in rural Dickinson and Geary counties in Kansas, or generally from north of Chapman, Kansas, extending 17 miles east/southeast to the Geary County substation south of Junction City, Kansas. The westernmost seven miles of the line will be along new right of way (ROW), Westar added, noting that the remaining segment will be double circuited on the existing ROW of an existing 345-kV transmission line.
The company said that it will not expand the existing ROW of the 345-kV line to add the second circuit. The line will generally consist of single pole steel tangent and single pole steel dead-end structures. The company added that in some cases where existing transmission lines are intersected or other select locations, two or three pole steel structures may be used.
The commission said in its order that its staff on March 12 filed a report, recommending that the commission grant Westar’s application.
According to staff, while the application lists the entire route, the TRO is needed only in Dickinson County, Section 34, Township 12 South, Range 4 East; Section 3, Township 13 South, Range 4 East; and Geary County, Section 29, Township 12 South, Range 6 East. The westernmost seven miles and final 3/4 mile of the line requires the new TRO, the commission said, adding that the remaining segment, the 345-kV line, will be removed and replaced with a double-circuited, 115-kV line and stay within the existing easements of the 345-kV line.
The commission noted that the Retail Electric Suppliers Act (RESA) requires the state to be divided into electric service territories in which only one retail electric supplier is established for a given territory. If a retail electric supplier receives commission approval, RESA allows it to extend distribution or transmission facilities through the territory of another supplier provided the supplier building through the territory only uses the proposed line to serve its own certificated customers. Westar states that a copy of its application was served upon DS&O Electric Cooperative and Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc., over whose territories Westar’s proposed line will pass, and staff indicates that it has received no objection to Westar’s application from either party, the commission added.
The commission noted that it has authority to grant a certificate to any public utility seeking to transact business in the state, and that the statutory standard of review in this matter is whether the public convenience will be promoted by the proposed project and by permitting Westar to transact the business of a common carrier or public utility.
The commission said that it finds that the public interest will be promoted by issuing Westar the requested certificate for TRO.