​Proposed 345 kV Transmission Line:
Wharton, Brazoria, and Matagorda Counties

To meet growing electricity demand in the Freeport, TX area, CenterPoint Energy has proposed a transmission line project from its Bailey Substation in Wharton County to its Jones Creek Substation in Brazoria County.

Learn about the need for the project, the approval process, and how to participate in public meetings.

Who is CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric?

CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric (CenterPoint Energy or the Company) maintains the wires, towers, poles, and electric infrastructure serving more than two million end-use customers in a 5,000-square-mile electric service territory in the Houston metropolitan area. While the Company’s employees ensure the reliable delivery of power from power plants to homes and businesses, the Company neither generates power nor sells it to customers.

The Company is part of CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, which is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. CenterPoint Energy, Inc. serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years.

What is the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC)?

The PUC is the state agency that was created by the Texas Legislature to provide statewide regulation of the rates and services of electric and telecommunication utilities.

What is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)?

ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers - representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT oversees activities related to the reliable and safe transmission of electricity by scheduling power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the PUC and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipal-owned electric utilities.

What are transmission lines?

Transmission lines are a part of the interconnected power system that moves electricity from all generating stations to substations, where the electricity is reduced in voltage and then delivered to end-use consumers over the distribution system that connects to businesses and homes. Transmission lines are larger, operate at higher voltages, and typically convey electricity over larger distances. Distribution lines are smaller, operate at lower voltages, and convey electricity over shorter distances within cities and neighborhoods.

Where will the 345 kV Bailey-Jones Creek Project transmission line be located?

ERCOT has designated CenterPoint Energy’s Bailey Substation in Wharton County and Jones Creek Substation in Brazoria County as the connection path end-points for the project. CenterPoint Energy will gather input from the community and other sources for a routing study and environmental assessment for a new 345 kV transmission line connecting the end-points of the project. CenterPoint Energy will prepare an Application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) for a proposed electric transmission line at the PUC that will include multiple routing alternatives for the proposed transmission line between the two substations. The PUC will decide whether the application should be approved and, if approved, on which route the transmission line will be constructed.

Why is the transmission line needed?

Transmission lines are an essential part of the facilities necessary to deliver electricity to residents, businesses, and governmental entities throughout Texas. Economic growth in the Freeport Area has led to a trend of large industrial load additions in the area. In order to meet the growing demand for electricity, CenterPoint Energy completed projects in 2016 and 2017 to increase the load-carrying capacity of the transmission system in the Freeport Area. However, as the large industrial loads continue to site in the Freeport Area, the potential for existing transmission system capacity upgrades becomes limited. A new transmission line is needed to maintain transmission grid reliability, provide for future load growth, increase transfer capability to the Freeport Area, and improve the ability to take 345 kV scheduled maintenance outages in the Freeport Area.

What is the process for the approval of the Bailey-Jones Creek electric transmission line?

CenterPoint Energy will gather input from the community and other sources for a routing study and environmental assessment between the Bailey Substation in Wharton County and the Jones Creek Substation in Brazoria County. After that information is gathered and the public meeting process is concluded, CenterPoint Energy will prepare and file an Application for a CCN for a proposed electric transmission line at the PUC. The application includes multiple routing alternatives for the transmission line between the two substations. The PUC will decide whether the application should be approved and, if approved, which route will be considered.

What are the considerations involved in selecting a route for the transmission line?

The PUC considers many factors in deciding whether to approve a proposed transmission line including community values, recreational and park areas, historic and aesthetic values, and environmental integrity. They also consider specific routing criteria for new lines including whether the route utilizes or parallels compatible rights-of-way such as following existing transmission lines, roads, pipelines, property lines, natural features, and cultural features. The information regarding these routing factors will be gathered by CenterPoint Energy and will be provided in the Application for a CCN for a Proposed Transmission Line that will be filed with the PUC.

Will CenterPoint Energy hold Public Meetings?

Yes. CenterPoint Energy typically schedules one or more public meetings during the preparation phase for the Public Utility Commission of Texas filing to address concerns or questions from landowners and other interested parties about a proposed transmission line. CenterPoint Energy holds meetings to share information about routing alternatives and gather input from the public on the routing of a new transmission line. Individuals attending the public meeting will have an opportunity to make comments, ask questions, and express any concerns that they might have about the routes under consideration. Representatives from CenterPoint Energy will be present at the public meetings. The public meetings will be held at the following dates, times and locations: 1) Tuesday February 6, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lake Jackson Civic Center, located at 333 Highway 332 in Lake Jackson, TX 77566; 2) Thursday February 8, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Wharton Civic Center, located at 1924 North Fulton Street in Wharton, TX 77488; and 3) Tuesday February 13, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Bay City Civic Center located at 201 Seventh Street in Bay City, TX 77414.

How do I participate in the process?

One way to become involved in a case before the Commission is to intervene in the proceeding. An intervenor is a person who, upon showing a justifiable interest, is permitted to become a party to the proceeding. Intervenors are full participants in the proceeding and make legal arguments, conduct discovery, file testimony, cross-examine witnesses, and are themselves, if they testify, subject to cross-examination by the other parties in the case. You must file a document requesting to intervene with the PUC that conforms to the rules and practices of the PUC, and mail the motion to all parties of record in the proceeding. The request to intervene can be in the form of a letter and must be filed with the PUC. If you do not wish to be a full participant in this proceeding, you may file a document protesting the transmission facility. A Protestor is a person or organization opposing any matter contained in the application or petition submitted to the PUC. Protestors are not parties to the case and may not conduct discovery, cross-examine witnesses, or present a direct case. Protestors may, however, make a written or verbal statement for the record in support of or in opposition to the application and give information to the PUC staff that they believe may be helpful. If you intend to be a protestor, you can either send written comments stating your position regarding the application, or if the docket progresses to a hearing, a statement of protest can be made on the first day of hearing. Although public comments are not sworn and therefore not treated as evidence, they help inform the PUC and its staff of the public concerns and to identify issues to be explored. The PUC welcomes such participation in its proceedings.

What type of structures will be used on the new transmission line?

CenterPoint Energy is proposing to utilize one or more of the following types of construction: 1) 116-foot tall double-circuit steel lattice towers in a delta configuration in a new right-of-way that will be approximately 150 foot wide; 2) 151-foot tall double-circuit steel lattice towers in a vertical configuration in a new right-of-way that will be approximately 100 foot wide; and 3) 149-foot double circuit steel poles in a vertical configuration in a new right-of-way that will be approximately 90 to 100 foot wide. The PUC will ultimately decide the type of structures that will be constructed during the CCN application process.

When will construction tentatively begin, and when will the project be completed?

CenterPoint Energy plans to file the CCN application with the PUC in September 2018. The PUC has twelve months to make a decision on the project. If the project is approved by the PUC, the Company would likely begin construction in October 2020 and the project would likely be completed in December 2021. However, these dates could be modified due to the length of the proceeding at the PUC and right-or way acquisition.

What happens if a new transmission line is not constructed?

New transmission lines improve electric system reliability and increase the load-carrying capacity of the transmission system by providing an additional path for power transmission. Failure to do so may limit the Freeport Area’s ability to grow and prosper. Without the additional transmission capacity provided by the new transmission line, the system would be unable to reliably serve the growing industrial load in the Freeport Area.

Will the power that flows across the new transmission line come from the wind generation in the State of Texas or from other power plants?

The transmission line will transport power from the multitude of generation sources interconnected in the ERCOT transmission grid. The transmission line is not intended to interconnect a specific generator; rather it is intended to provide an additional power pathway into the Freeport Area to maintain reliable electric service.

How will CenterPoint Energy compensate landowners if it is necessary for the transmission line to cross their property?

CenterPoint Energy will make a bona fide offer to the landowner when purchasing right-of-way following the requirements of Texas law and will provide landowners with a copy of the State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights. In cases where the parties do not agree on the value of the property, the land value will be determined in a condemnation proceeding where special commissioners, appointed by a judge, will determine the value of the property following a hearing where all interested parties are entitled to provide evidence of valuation.

Contact Us

Steven Fox
Bailey to Jones Creek CCN Project Manager
CenterPoint Energy

Transmission Operations, CNP-T 14th Floor
P.O. Box 1700
Houston, TX 77251-1700

Phone: (713) 207-6490
Email: baileyjonescreek@centerpointenergy.com

Last Updated: Feb. 16, 2018

Additional information related to the project will be added to this page as it becomes available. Please check back regularly for updates.