Texas Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (8-TX-c)
The PUCT regulates transmission line siting for projects greater than 60 kV pursuant to 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c)(3), Tex. Util. Code Ann. § 37.051, and 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.5(140).
Certificate of Convenience and Necessity Process
8-TX-c.1 - Provide Notice to Affected Land Owners, Utilities, and Localities
The developer must provide notice to all entities potentially affected by new transmission lines or changes to the service area.
8-TX-c.2 to 8-TX-c.3 – Is the Proposed Project Greater than 60 kV?
A developer may need to obtain a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) for any new electric transmission line. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c)(3); Tex. Util. Code Ann. § 37.051(a). The PUCT rules define a transmission line as any “power line that is operated at 60 kV or above, when measured phase-to-phase.” 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.5(140).
8-TX-c.4 to 8-TX-c.5 – Does an Exception Apply to the Proposed Project?
A developer does not need to obtain a CCN if the proposed project is:
- A contiguous extension of those facilities described in PURA §37.052;
- A new electric high voltage switching station, or substation;
- The repair or reconstruction of a transmission facility due to emergencies;
- The construction or upgrading of distribution facilities within the electric utility’s service area;
- A routine activity associated with transmission facilities conducted by transmission service providers as described in 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c)(5); and
- A upgrade to an existing transmission line by an municipal public entity that do not require any additional land, right-of-way, easement, or other property not owned by the municipally owned utility.
For a complete list of exceptions see, 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c).
8-TX-c.6 - Contact Locality, Obtain Consent/Permit if Necessary
If transmission lines will be sited through the jurisdiction of a local government, the developer will need to obtain any necessary permits or consent in order to complete an Application for a CCN or to qualify as a "routine activity." E.g., 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c)(5)(A)(ii).
8-TX-c.7 - Is the Proposed Project a "Routine Activity?"
If the proposed project is a “routine activity” as mentioned above the developer does not need to obtain CCN, however the developer must report the activity to the PUCT. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101.
According to 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(c)(5), the following are defined as "routine activities":
- (A) The modification or extension of an existing transmission line solely to provide service to a substation or metering point provided that:
- (i) an extension to a substation or metering point does not exceed one mile; and
- (ii) all landowners whose property is crossed by the transmission facilities have given prior written consent.
- (B) The rebuilding, replacement, or respacing of structures along an existing route of the transmission line; upgrading to a higher voltage not greater than 230 kV; bundling of conductors or reconductoring of an existing transmission facility, provided that:
- (i) no additional right-of-way is required; or
- (ii) if additional right-of-way is required, all landowners of property crossed by the electric facilities have given prior written consent.
- (C) The installation, on an existing transmission line, of an additional circuit not previously certificated, provided that:
- (i) the additional circuit is not greater than 230 kV; and
- (ii) all landowners whose property is crossed by the transmission facilities have given prior written consent.
- (D) The relocation of all or part of an existing transmission facility due to a request for relocation, provided that:
- (i) the relocation is to be done at the expense of the requesting party; and
- (ii) the relocation is solely on a right-of-way provided by the requesting party.
- (E) The relocation or alteration of all or part of an existing transmission facility to avoid or eliminate existing or impending encroachments, provided that all landowners of property crossed by the electric facilities have given prior written consent.
- (F) The relocation, alteration, or reconstruction of a transmission facility due to the requirements of any federal, state, county, or municipal governmental body or agency for purposes including, but not limited to, highway transportation, airport construction, public safety, or air and water quality, provided that:
- (i) all landowners of property crossed by the electric facilities have given prior written consent; and
- (ii) the relocation, alteration, or reconstruction is responsive to the governmental request.
8-TX-c.8 - Report to PUCT
Routine activities must be reported to the PUCT in accordance with 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.83. The PUCT may require additional facts or call a public hearing thereon to determine whether a CCN is required.
8-TX-c.9 - Compile Alternate Route Options and Analyze Efficiency Options in Lieu of New Lines
Texas requires submittal of alternative route options as well as analysis of the usefulness of demand-side management and distributed generation in lieu of new lines.
According to 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(b)(3)(B):
- The following factors must be considered in the selection of the utility’s alternative routes unless a route is agreed to by the utility, the landowners whose property is crossed by the proposed line, and owners of land that contains a habitable structure within 300 feet of the centerline of a transmission project of 230 kV or less, or within 500 feet of the centerline of a transmission project greater than 230 kV, and otherwise conforms to the criteria in PURA §37.056(c):
- (i) whether the routes utilize existing compatible rights-of-way, including the use of vacant positions on existing multiple-circuit transmission lines;
- (ii) whether the routes parallel existing compatible rights-of-way;
- (iii) whether the routes parallel property lines or other natural or cultural features; and
- (iv) whether the routes conform with the policy of prudent avoidance.
8-TX-c.10 - Application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity
The developer must submit a complete CCN Application to the PUCT. According to 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101, all Applications for CCNs must be filed on PUCT-prescribed forms so that the granting of certificates, both contested and uncontested, may be expedited. Forms may be obtained from the Central Records Department.
The developer must include evidence to show they have received the consent, franchise, or permit required by the proper municipal or other public authority.
A developer must also comply with Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power region application requirements. The Application must also include an economic cost-benefit study that includes an analysis that shows that the levelized ERCOT-wide annual production cost savings attributable to the proposed project are equal to or greater than the first-year annual revenue requirement of the proposed project of which the transmission line is a part. Indirect costs and benefits to the transmission system may be included in the cost-benefit study. The PUCT will give great weight to such a study if it is conducted by ERCOT. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(b)(3)(A)(i).
This requirement for an economic cost-benefit study does not apply to an Application filed pursuant to 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.174 for a transmission line that is intended to serve a competitive renewable energy zone. This requirement also does not apply to an application for a transmission line that is necessary to meet state or federal reliability standards, including: a transmission line needed to interconnect a transmission service customer or end-use customer; or needed due to the requirements of any federal, state, county, or municipal government body or agency for purposes including, but not limited to, highway transportation, airport construction, public safety, or air or water quality. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.174.
An Application for a tie line must also include a study of the tie line by ERCOT. The study must include, at minimum, an ERCOT approved reliability assessment of the proposed tie line. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(b)(4).
8-TX-c.11 to 8-TX-c.12 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
The PUCT will review the Application materials for administrative and technical completeness. The PUCT may request additional information, if necessary.
8-TX-c.13 – Publish Notice of Application to Interested Parties
The PUCT must give notice to interested parties and to the Office of Public Utility Counsel when an Application for a CCN is filed.
8-TX-c.14 to 8-TX-c.17 - Is there a Request for a Hearing?
The PUCT will conduct any hearing requested. If a hearing is requested the PUCT will publish notice of hearing.
Any person or electric cooperative interested in the Application may intervene at the hearing. Motions to intervene must be filed within 45 days from when the Application is filed. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 22.104.
Developers are necessary parties to hearings on Applications, and need not file a motion to intervene in order to participate as parties. PUCT staff representing the public interest have standing to participate in all proceedings before the PUCT, and need not file a motion to intervene. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 22.
8-TX-c.18 to 8-TX-c.19 – Assess the Application for Approval
The PUCT reviews the Application along with supplemental information from the public hearing, if applicable. If no motion to intervene has been requested or the Application is uncontested the PUCT must make a decision on the Application within eighty (80) days from the date of filling a complete Application.
The PUCT may only grant an Application and issue a CCN if it “finds that the [CCN] is necessary for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public and complies with the statutory requirements in the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) § 37.056 ( Tex. Util. Code Ann. § 37056).” 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101(b).
8-TX-c.20 - Certificate of Convenience and Necessity
The PUCT must grant each CCN on a nondiscriminatory basis after considering:
- the adequacy of existing service;
- the need for additional service;
- the effect of granting the certificate on the recipient of the certificate and any electric utility serving the proximate area; and
- other factors.
8-TX-c.21 – Appeal Decision (Optional)
Any interested party may appeal a CCN decision within ten (10) days of the issued order. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 22.
8-TX-c.22 - Negotiate with Landowner/Managing Agency
Once siting is approved the developer will have to negotiate with the land owner/managing agency for any lease or right of way needs.
8-TX-c.23 - Follow Construction and Operation Standards
In determining standard practice, the PUCT will be guided by the provisions of the American National Standards Institute, Incorporated, the National Electrical Safety Code, and such other codes and standards that are generally accepted by the industry, except as modified by this commission or by municipal regulations within their jurisdiction. Each electric utility must construct, install, operate, and maintain its plant, structures, equipment, and lines in accordance with these standards, and in such manner to best accommodate the public, and to prevent interference with service furnished by other public utilities insofar as practical. 16 Tex. Admin. Code § 25.101.
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