There are two phases of new transmission lines:
Routing Phase: Once a utility company’s application is approved, multiple possible routes are mapped, an intervention deadline is set (usually only 4-6 weeks after application is approved), and landowners have until this date to intervene to influence the final route that will be chosen.
Condemnation Phase: Once all intervening parties have settled, a final route is chosen. At this time, the utility company will contact the affected landowners to begin surveying their land and give an offer for damages. The terms can be negotiable, which is why it is imperative to be represented by a knowledgeable firm like Braun & Gresham, if you want to influence the final easement size and monetary compensation.
If you’ve recently been contacted by your local utility about any of the following transmission lines, please contact us today to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation.
American Electric Power Company (AEP)
Tuleta to Coleto Creek
Kenedy SS to Tuleta
Esmeralda to Yucca
Brazos Electric Power Cooperative
Brazos Valley Connection Project
Cross Texas Transmission
Limestone to Gibbons Creek
Electric Transmission Texas (ETT)
Barney Davis to Naval Base
Entergy Texas, Inc.(ETI)
Newton to Orange
Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC)
Gillett to Nopal
LCRA TSC & Central Texas Electric Cooperative (CTEC)
Sam Houston Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Xcel Energy/Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS)
*NEW* NE Hereford to La Plata
Yoakum to State Line
Wolfforth to Carlisle
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
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.