CenterPoint EnergyElectric Transmission and Distribution
Houston Region Import Capacity Project
Planning for Reliable Power

Planning for Reliable Power
As the transmission and distribution utility, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric (CenterPoint Energy) is responsible for meeting the current electric demand and the electric demand forecasted for the future. To ensure we meet growing demand, CenterPoint Energy is undertaking a major initiative that will allow us to continue providing the safe and reliable service that people in the Houston region have come to expect over the past 130 years. 

CenterPoint Energy has performed a study to consider the import needs for the Houston region based on planning criteria for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Company. As a result, the Company proposed a new transmission line interconnection project to ERCOT in July 2013 to increase the ability to import power, or have power delivered, into the Houston area from other parts of the state because of our concern about not being able to meet future electric demand. The Company’s concerns are driven by the following factors:
  • We are fortunate to have a thriving economy. The region’s business-friendly environment has sustained and will continue to sustain load growth. In our 5,000 square service territory, Houston, Mont Belvieu, Freeport and surrounding areas have been growing at a steady pace equaling or exceeding the national average electrical usage growth rate.
  • Generation additions in our service territory have not been able to keep up with demand growth. As a result, we have to depend on importing significant amounts of power from other parts of the ERCOT region.
  • Lack of construction of new fossil-fired power plants has been exacerbated by environmental restrictions. Thus, any new fossil-fired generation being built in the Houston area will likely displace comparable amounts of existing power generation in this area due to the environmental regulations.
  • Many of the Houston-area power plants are aging and subject to retirement or seasonal “mothballing”. Once these plants are placed in such a status, they are unavailable to meet electric usage demands on a year-round basis.
  • The capacity to import power into the Houston region is reaching the maximum threshold. New high-voltage transmission lines are direly needed to import power from other parts of the ERCOT region to ensure reliable service.
  • Even if the rest of the ERCOT region achieves adequate generation reliability, the Houston region could be left without sufficient power resources. Unless additional transmission capacity is built soon, we believe there is a strong possibility that the Houston-area residents and the economy could be negatively impacted.

In consideration of these factors, CenterPoint Energy believes that the proposed project is critical to the Company’s ability to continue providing reliable electric power in Houston and surrounding areas. The Company is acting now to secure reliable power for the Houston region.

Interested in learning more? You can find additional resources and the most up-to-date project information below.

Project Overview
Project Map
FAQs 
Project Proposal to ERCOT
ERCOT Import to Houston Illustration NEW 

For questions or concerns, please contact us via phone or e-mail. 
Phone: 713-207-1104 
E-mail: ReliablePower@centerpointenergy.com 

The page was last updated on September 12, 2013. Items marked 'NEW' have been added since last update. Please check back regularly for updates.