Electric power is transported across Texas through transmission lines. Utility companies have to give you notice and a chance to participate in the routing process if they are planning to build a power line near your property. If your land is targeted, you face a changed landscape and decreased property values. Your concerns can be heard at the Public Utility Commission in Austin, but only if you get involved and understand the process. Landowners who stay on the sidelines are often the most impacted. Our team has developed winning strategies to help landowners minimize or remove the impact to their land. Braun & Gresham knows the players, the procedures, and even the politics to protect you in the transmission line routing process.

If you’ve recently been contacted by your local utility about the ROUTING of any of the following transmission lines, please contact us today to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation:

Active Cases

American Electric Power Texas Central Company (AEP)
Kenedy SS to Tuleta
Esmeralda to Yucca

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative
138 kV transmission line and substation in Denton County (PROPOSED)
138 kV transmission line in Grimes, Walker and Montgomery Counties

Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT)
North Edinburg to Loma Alta
Las Brisas to Sand Dollar to Lon Hill (PROPOSED)
Las Brisas to Sand Dollar to Nopalito (PROPOSED)
Barney Davis to Naval Base

El Paso Electric Company
Montana to Montwood

Entergy Texas, Inc.
China to Amelia
Grimes to Ponderosa

Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC)
138 kV transmission line in Gonzales, Karnes, and Wilson County

LCRA TSC & Central Texas Electric Cooperative (CTEC)
Blumenthal Substation and 138-kV transmission line project

Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc.
69 kV Tie Line in Gaines County

Oncor
Hicks-Elizabeth Creek
New Bethel Energy Center
Benedum to Centralia

Sharyland Utilities, L.P. (Sharyland)
North Edinburg to Loma Alta
Antelope-Elk Energy Center to White River

South Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. (STEC)
Fort Lincoln to SECO Line
Tilden to Reveille

Xcel Energy/Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS)
Bailey to Curry (PROPOSED)

Texas New Mexico Power
Westminster Line

Tres Amigas, LLC.
Parmer, Bailey and Lamb Counties

**NOTICE: If your land has recently been CONDEMNED due to the construction of a power line, or if you’ve been contacted by a utility about the possibility of your land being taken by EMINENT DOMAIN, please visit our Condemnation web page for more info. This is a different stage in the transmission line construction process that requires a different approach from ROUTING.

The Braun & Gresham Difference

If your land is threatened by incoming transmission lines, you need to speak with the attorneys at Braun & Gresham, PLLC today. The earlier you start in your fight to protect your land, the better your chances are for success. There are multiple opportunities to influence the process, but to have the greatest impact you must start the process early and with an experienced team of professionals. 

Transmission Line Routing

Read more…

Transmission Line “hearings” are full scale trials held in Austin, which means you not only need complete legal and expert support, you need a team located in Austin – a team that knows the law and knows the local players.

Braun & Gresham, PLLC is an Austin, Texas law firm that has always worked for the rural landowner. We know the ins and outs of eminent domain and condemnation and our approach to transmission cases is dynamic and flexible. Having successfully represented clients for the past 2 years on Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) cases, we are one of the only law firms in Texas that has the expertise and background to help clients fight this new phase of transmission routing and easements. Each route is different. Each community is different. Each client is different. We work with our clients to develop the most cost-effective strategy for their particular situation and budget.

Examples of Transmission Routing Cases That We’ve Worked On

PUC Docket No. 37408 Riley to Bowman, Oncor (Oncor)
PUC Docket No. 37464 Brown Newton, Oncor (Oncor)
PUC Docket No. 38140 Riley to Krum, Oncor (Oncor)
PUC Docket No. 38562 Riley-Clark, Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT)
PUC Docket No. 38650 Gray to White Deer, Cross Texas Transmission (CTT)
PUC Docket. No. 38677 Ector County to N. Moss, Oncor (Oncor)
PUC Docket No. 38877 TUCO to Oklaunion, Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS)
PUC Docket No. 39298 Odessa to North McCamey, South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC)
PUC Docket No. 39524 Oklaunion-Fisher, Oncor (Oncor)
PUC Docket No. 40049 Springwoods Project, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint)
PUC Docket No. 40319 Sandy Substation and Transmission Line Project, Brazos Electric Power Cooperative (Brazos)
PUC Docket No. 40537 Gardendale to Grady, Sharyland Utilities L.P. (Sharyland)
PUC Docket No. 40550 Bowers to Howard, Southwest Public Service Company (SPS)
PUC Docket No. 40684 EC Mornhinweg to Parkway, Lower Colorado River Authority, (LCRA)
PUC Docket No. 40728 Lobo to Rio Bravo to North Edinburg, Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (ETT)
PUC Docket No. 41749 Oyster Creek, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint)

Navigating the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Process Requires a Team of Knowledgeable Experts

Our preference is to start early and help our clients provide the most relevant and persuasive information to the utility during its planning work. Convincing the utility to recommend a preferred route somewhere other than our clients’ land is the first step toward a successful effort. This advocacy is informal, but relies on the same evidence that will be developed for the formal PUC hearing. The goal is to develop as much evidence as possible of engineering, legal and environmental obstacles to the route that affects our client, so the utility chooses a different route.

The formal PUC process is like a trial with many of the same rules and timelines. The most important factor is providing highly credible expert witnesses who have developed independent analysis and evidence. The attorneys present this evidence in legal filings and at the PUC hearing. Distilling this technical evidence into compelling testimony is first done in writing and then with the experts on the witness stand. The attorneys and experts must also rebut the testimony of other landowner/interveners who will have developed their own evidence.

In our experience, a team of attorneys and experts working closely together with the clients is the most effective way to organize for this phase of the process. Braun & Gresham, PLLC has worked with many different experts and will continue to work with any experts chosen by our clients. For the transmission lines we can recommend a winning team that has worked successfully together on other lines. This experienced team of consultants can partner with Braun & Gresham, PLLC and rapidly respond to looming deadlines.

When budgets allow, Braun & Gresham, PLLC recommends also organizing a political response to the routing decision. While there is no official weight given to such organizing, it is undoubtedly true that large groups of landowners backed by their elected officials have influenced otherwise very technical proceedings. The political pressure, if it is large enough, helps drive settlement discussions with the utility and tip the balance in close cases. Remember, all of the proposed alternatives are feasible routes, so choosing the path of least resistance can be a smart move by a utility. This level of organizing has the added benefit of spreading costs over many landowners whose interests are aligned.

Should the PUC’s final route affect a client’s land, there are still options for minimizing the impact and ensuring just compensation. Braun & Gresham, PLLC has been very successful in negotiating the details of routes across a client’s land to avoid crucial buildings and operations and to mitigate the worst of the visual and financial harm. And finally, during the condemnation process, the goal is to ensure that the utility pays for the entire financial loss suffered by the client. Once again, teaming with the best experts is the key to developing compelling appraisal evidence of all damages to the value of the property and not just accepting payment for acreage taken.

To learn more about how Braun & Gresham, PLLC can help you protect your property rights, contact us today. Your best opportunity for success is to act early.