As expected, on Jan. 15 Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filed a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build to build a 138,000-volt transmission line across west Frisco. In response, several Frisco homeowners have retained legal counsel to represent their interests to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas.
Their attorney, Francis B. Majorie of The Majorie Firm Ltd., will be compensated solely from fees arranged for by the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) from the Texas Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee. Majorie does not represent the CCAR or the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC); he only represents the individuals who have retained him.
“I was approached by several interested homeowners who have retained me and have asked me to be available to answer questions and enable the homeowners to present a united front in that they all have a common interest in asking that the power lines be buried,” Majorie said.
In order to answer questions, there is a town hall meeting Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Pioneer Heritage Middle School, 1649 High Shoals Dr., Frisco.
As we reported in November, the WFHOC and CCAR joined forces in September 2014, creating a grassroots campaign, burythelines.org, to oppose the above-ground high-voltage transmission line. Through that website, they have gathered names of potential “intervenors” who could be a part of the legal proceedings surrounding the CCN.
“An intervenor is someone who is directly affected by the imposition of the power line, who chooses to appear and be a party in the proceedings,” Majorie said. “Because they are a party, they have a right to appear at all the hearings, the right to offer evidence, they have to be available to provide discovery to others. It’s the functional equivalent of being a party in a lawsuit.”
A 45-day period where people can voice their concerns to the PUC began when Brazos filed on Jan. 15. The PUC then has up to a year to make its decision regarding transmission line route and if the line will be above ground or below ground. Jump to read more!
Brazos’ CCN included proposals for both underground and overhead routes. The line will start at an existing transmission line west of the Dallas North Tollway, and run between 2.7 and 4.1 miles along either Stonebrook Parkway or Main Street, depending on the approved route, to a new substation to be built on King Road, west of Farm-to-Market Road 423. The official name given by Brazos is the Stonebrook Transmission Line and Substation project.
Those who oppose say the above-ground option, which will run through heavily populated neighborhoods, will adversely affect property values and infringe on homeowner property rights.
Brazos estimates the cost of overhead transmission is approximately $1.5 million per mile, versus $11.5 million per mile for underground transmission lines.
The Brazos website states: “PUC Staff has advised Brazos Electric…that it may not support an underground route unless the cost difference in underground versus overhead transmission is paid for by some source other than the Texas ratepayers. All ratepayers of Texas pay a share of the uplifted costs of transmission lines, and therefore such transmission costs must be allocated in a fair and equitable manner as determined by the PUC…Underground transmission is extremely rare in Texas because the costs are prohibitive. For that reason, Brazos Electric has never before proposed an underground transmission line.”
The purpose of the power line is to serve growth in Frisco, Little Elm, and The Colony, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. The project is currently slated to begin around March 2018.