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Texas PUC rejects CenterPoint appeal of ERCOT transmission line ruling

Highlights

The Texas Public Utility Commission on Friday dismissed CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric's appeal of an Electric Reliability Council of Texas ruling that denied the company sole authority over a proposed $590 million transmission project.

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In a complaint filed with the PUC in May, CenterPoint argued that ERCOT staff violated the grid operator's own rules when it failed to name the company the default provider for the planned Houston Import Project.

In its ruling, ERCOT awarded a portion of the project to Cross Texas Transmission and Garland Power & Light.

"There would be no way to apply protocol as CenterPoint argued going forward," PUC Commissioner Brandy Marty said Friday.


The Houston Import Project is a nearly 130-mile, 345-kV double circuit line that will run from the Limestone substation in ERCOT's North zone to the Gibbons Creek substation in Grimes County and onto the Zenith substation northwest of Houston. It also includes upgrades to the Limestone, Gibbons Creek and Zenith substations and improvements to the existing T.H. Wharton-Addicks 345-kV transmission line to increase its power rating.

ERCOT protocol states the entity owning the two endpoints of a project shall be the default provider for the project, CenterPoint argued in its filing. Because of that, the company said it is entitled to build the entire project and accused ERCOT staff of abusing its discretion.

The PUC held an August hearing to consider CenterPoint's arguments.

PUC Commissioner Kenneth Anderson in his motion to deny CenterPoint's appeal said he found the arguments raised by ERCOT, Cross Texas and Garland, more "credible" than those made by CenterPoint.

"We have the same sort of issues with our rules because you can't anticipate everything," PUC Chairwoman Donna Nelson said Friday.

ERCOT's Technical Advisory Committee endorsed the Houston Import Project in March and the ERCOT board followed in April. The project is scheduled to be complete by 2018.

--Kassia Micek, kassia.micek@platts.com
--Edited by Jeff Barber, jeff.barber@platts.com