Cross Texas Transmission (CTT) and the City of Garland, Texas – collectively referred to as the applicants – on June 1 filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas a proposed order that calls for the commission to approve the applicants’ request to transfer certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) rights from CTT to Garland for a portion of the Limestone to Gibbons Creek 345-kV transmission line.
According to the proposed order, the portion of the double-circuit line that would be transferred to Garland is about 38.93 miles long, beginning at the existing Gibbons Creek substation in Grimes County and ending at dead end structure 39/7 in Leon County.
As noted in a “joint motion to admit evidence” included in the June 1 filing, the applicants filed the application in March for approval of transferring the CCN rights for that portion of the line, which was recently energized.
CTT seeks to transfer a portion of its CCN for the line to Garland consistent with the ownership agreed to by the applicants after being designated by ERCOT to be co-providers for the line and the Gibbons Creek substation upgrades, as part of what is known as the Houston Import Project, according to the joint motion.
As noted in the proposed order, the ERCOT Board of Directors in April 2014, endorsed the need for the Houston Import Project, which included the Limestone to Gibbons Creek line and the Gibbons Creek to Zenith 345-kV double-circuit transmission line.
ERCOT designated the applicants and CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC, as co-providers of the recommended new 345-kV lines. The proposed order also said that because the applicants and CenterPoint did not reach an agreement regarding the portions that each would build, ERCOT determined that the applicants should be responsible for the new Limestone to Gibbons Creek 345-kV line and the Gibbons Creek substation upgrades, and that CenterPoint should be responsible for the remaining transmission facilities that were included in the Houston Import Project.
Garland and CTT agreed to jointly develop and apportion their respective interests in the line, with CTT applying for the CCN to build the Limestone to Gibbons Creek 345-kV line and managing the development and construction of the line, and with Garland paying for its share of the line as costs were incurred by CTT.
The proposed order added that in its CCN application, CTT stated that if its application were approved and the Garland/CTT line built, then CTT and Garland would each own a portion of the line project.
The proposed order noted that after the CCN application was filed, the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 amended the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) to require municipally owned utilities to obtain a CCN for transmission lines outside of its municipal boundaries, with exceptions that do not apply to the Limestone to Gibbons Creek line.
As noted in the joint motion, no one intervened in the matter, no hearing was requested, and the commission staff filed its recommendation for approval of the application in May.
Staff’s May 23 recommendation filing included a memorandum to the Legal Division from Blake Ianni in the commission’s Infrastructure and Reliability Division. That memorandum concluded that transferring CCN rights to Garland for its portion of the Limestone-Gibbons Creek line is not expected to result in a decline in the availability or reliability of service for customers. “Therefore, I recommend that the commission issue a determination that the transaction is reasonable and transfer CTT’s CCN rights for Garland’s portion of the Limestone-Gibbons Creek Line to Garland,” Ianni said.