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Relating to the authority of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to approve certain transmission facilities constructed by a municipally owned utility.
SB 776 would, is passed, amend the Utilities Code so that a
municipally owned utility could no longer construct, install, operate, or
extend a transmission outside of its certified service area unless the
utility first obtain, from the Public Utility
Commission, a certificate which states that the facility in question is
required on the grounds of public convenience or safety. (The process for
obtaining this certificate is described in section 37.053 of the Utilities
This new restriction would not apply to transmission facilities used solely to provide a municipally owned utility with access to a generation source outside of the certified service area. It would also not apply to upgrades on existing transmission lines, provided these upgrades do not require additional land, easements, or rights of way.
The House committee substitute version sets a 185-day window for certain new applications. We remain supportive of SB 776. The second chamber sponsor is Rep. Dan Huberty.
First chamber recommendation:
SB 776 would place a prudent restriction on municipally owned utilities. If transmission lines do in fact need to be extended, this extension should be conducted in a manner which respects property rights. SB 776 is a positive and definite step in this direction. By extending the authority of the Public Utility Commission in this area closes a potential gap in landowner property rights arising from extension or upgrades on transmission lines. For this reason, we support SB 776.