Who is CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC?

CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (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 electricity from power plants to homes and businesses, the Company neither generates nor sells it to customers. The Company is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy, Inc.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves nearly seven million metered customers primarily in Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas. With more than 9,600 employees, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years.

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

The PUC is the state agency created by the Texas Legislature to regulate the rates and services of electric, telecommunication and water utilities throughout the state.

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

ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 26 million Texas customers, representing 90 percent of the state's electric load. CenterPoint Energy’s service territory is located within the footprint of ERCOT. 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 more than 52,700 miles of transmission lines and more than 1,030 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 including CenterPoint Energy), and municipally-owned electric utilities.

What are transmission lines?

Transmission lines are a part of the interconnected power system that moves electricity from generators 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 longer distances. Distribution lines are smaller, operate at lower voltages, and convey electricity over shorter distances within cities and neighborhoods.

What is the 138 kV Mill Creek Substation Project?

The 138 kV Mill Creek Substation Project is a 138 kV double circuit electric transmission line proposed to be built by CenterPoint Energy between an existing CenterPoint Energy transmission line located in southwestern Montgomery County to one of three proposed Mill Creek Substation sites. The need for and route of the project is subject to approval by the PUC.

Where will the 138 kV Mill Creek Substation be located?

The Mill Creek Substation is proposed to be located near Hardin Store Road and Dobbin-Huffsmith Road in southwestern Montgomery County. There are three sites under consideration. The PUC will ultimately determine the route of the transmission line and the related substation location.

Why is the 138 kV Mill Creek Substation Project needed?

The 138 kV Mill Creek Substation is needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in the Magnolia/Tomball/The Woodlands area. The area has had substantial growth that has included the addition of new residents, schools, subdivisions, retail centers, commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, etc. The area is forecasted to have an approximate 24% load growth between 2022 and 2031. The new Mill Creek distribution substation will help to meet the growing energy demands of our customers in these areas.

What is the process for the approval of the 138 kV Mill Creek Substation transmission line?

CenterPoint Energy will gather input from the community through a public meeting process and other sources for the preparation of a routing study and environmental assessment between CenterPoint’s existing transmission line and the three proposed substation sites in Montgomery County. After that information is gathered and the public meeting process is concluded, CenterPoint Energy will prepare and file an Application for a Certificate of Convenience & Necessity (CCN) for a Proposed Transmission Line with the PUC. The application will include multiple routing alternatives for the proposed transmission line between the existing transmission line and the proposed substation sites. The PUC will decide whether the application should be approved and, if approved, which route and substation site will be approved.

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 as prescribed by state law and PUC rules, including community values, recreational and park areas, historic and aesthetic values, and environmental integrity. It also considers specific routing criteria for new transmission lines, including whether the route utilizes or parallels compatible rights-of-way such as existing electrical facilities, roads, highways, railroads, telephone lines, property lines, natural features, and cultural features. CenterPoint Energy will provide information about these factors for each of the proposed alternative routes in its CCN application.

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

The typical structures for the proposed alternative route segments may be double-circuit lattice steel towers, double-circuit steel poles, or double-circuit concrete poles with a vertical phase configuration in an 80-foot wide right-of-way (ROW). Depending on the terrain and other considerations, such as the length of span between structures and clearance requirements needed to cross rivers, wetland areas, Federal Aviation Administration determinations or utility and roadway crossings, CenterPoint Energy may require wider ROW widths and may vary structure types and heights.

Will CenterPoint Energy hold a Public Meeting?

Yes. Consistent with PUC rules and prior to filing a CCN application, CenterPoint Energy will hold a public meeting for the project to address concerns or questions from landowners and other interested parties. CenterPoint Energy will share information about routing alternatives and gather input from the public. 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 and TRC Environmental Corporation will be present at the public meeting. The public meeting will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2022, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tomball Community Center at 221 Market St. Tomball, TX 77375

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

Once the PUC has approved a route for the project, 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.