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Lattice overhead powerlines. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) recently approved the Final Order for a Brazos Electric Power Cooperative powerline project. The project will run along the west side of FM 423, covering an area from Lebanon Road to Witt Road. It will be a hybrid construction, combining overhead and underground lines, and mixing transmission lines with distribution lines. Transmission lines, typically larger, carry a higher voltage than distribution lines, and are used to connect substations with their respective generation plants. Distribution lines are used to provide electricity directly to homes or businesses, and therefore carry a lower voltage. With the passage of the Final Order, Brazos Electric will likely soon begin construction preparations. This includes acquiring easements from property owners along the powerline’s route.

Meanwhile, CoServ, a Brazos Electric member, has submitted a proposal for the Kittyhawk project, which would place transmission lines along State Highway (SH) 121. The project would require land in Frisco, McKinney, Allen, and Plano, and is still under review in those cities. So far, the response has been mixed. In a June resolution, McKinney’s City Council opposed the location of a substation within McKinney’s city limits. Shortly after, a Plano City Council resolution endorsed the council’s preferred route option. The Frisco City Council has yet to pass a resolution on the project, though it’s Chamber of Commerce Director, Shona Huffman, suggested that the chamber would prefer the shortest and most cost-effective route.

“For Kittyhawk, since there are routes that are cheaper and less invasive to development and residents and businesses, those are the routes that we would prefer,” she said. “We’re researching to see what involvement, if any, we’ll have.”

For both these projects, it is highly unlikely that the compensation offered will be just and adequate as required by the Texas Constitution. For example, the taking of powerline easements after causes damages to the remaining property. Before accepting an offer, landowners should carefully review the offer and consult with their lawyer before reaching an agreement with the powerline company