The Public Utility Commission met on February 10 to discuss the implementation of a new transmission line, review the efforts of the commission and ERCOT during the freeze earlier this month, and conduct other routine business. A link to the meeting and agenda can be found here.


This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Agenda items 1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, and 17 were consented to without discussion, and items 3, 8, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 35 and 36 were not taken up or discussed during meeting.

Item 4: Docket No. 51249 – Petition of Crook Rose, Inc. to Amend Lindale Rural Water Supply Corporation’s Certificate of Convenience and Necessity in Smith County by Expedited Release. (Final Order) Lorenzo Garcia

  • Staff – Amend Lindale Water Supply applied to withdrawal their petition
  • Motion Passes


Item 5: Docket No. 52368 – Chris Harp’s Appeal of the Cost of Obtaining Service from Mount Zion Water Supply Corporation. (Preliminary Order) Cheri Hasz

  • Lake – Issues are laid out nicely but concern about the cost of a single resident with an 8’ line; Is the line this costly based on development for future projects
    • Motion made to approve with the exception that the high cost is explainable by the development of more infrastructure; if not the case, efforts must be made to reduce cost
  • Modified motion passes


Item 6: Docket No. 52493 – Complaint of Brad White Against Arledge Ridge Water Supply Corporation. (Preliminary Order) Austin Spraetz

  • Lake – Preliminary order covers issues adequately; same concern for high cost and little infrastructure as in item 5
    • Motion made to approve with the exception that the high cost is explainable by the development of more infrastructure; if not the case, efforts must be made to reduce cost
  • Modified motion passes


Item 11: Docket No. 51912 – Application of AEP Texas Inc. to Amend its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Angstrom-to-Grissom Double-Circuit 345-kV Transmission Line in Bee, Refugio, and San Patricio Counties. (Final Order) David Hrncir

  • Staff – Judge filed with 2 corrections to the PRT; staff also filed memo with 2 corrections to the PRT


David Brown, Ewell, Brown, Blanke & Knight LLP

  • Representing O’Conner Family
  • Z-mod provides for changes voluntary by landowners in interest of protecting the Aransas River Valley
  • Shorten lengths, eliminate bifurcation, and eliminate crossings; would reduce costs by $5 million making Z-mod route the most cost effective
  • Adopt route Z and route N


Tom Forester, Winstead PC Burke Hollow Cooperation

  • There are 11 alternate route lengths that lead to Grissom station; client’s land
  • Oppose route T and N; results in lots of land bifurcation
  • Route Z results in a 20% cost savings; supports Z-mod


Patrick Resnick, Braun & Gresham PLLC

  • Proposed route that was denied by commission month ago because it was too expensive; new route is cheaper and the product of collaboration and hard work
  • Supports route Z
  • Reads Welder Wildlife Foundation statement; believes in equal access to wildlife that is supported by route Z


JR Turnbol, Homeowner

  • Purchased a rural home for privacy and ranching; recently surrounded by transmission lines
  • Asks committee to consider leaving land untouched and passing route T not N


Jay Carr, Homeowner

  • Ranch owner generationally since 1949;
  • In support of Line T because it would keep Burke Hollow in one area; wants commission to reject line N because its 1,000 feet from his property


Kathy Webb King, Represents Turnbol and Carr Families

  • New substation was built after families purchased land in affected area; Line N goes straight through the 2 properties represented and creates bifurcation
  • Supports line T; occupational hazard for the ranchers because of future electricity development


Carrie McGrath, AEP

  • Opposes Z-mod because it is not specific or approved by APT Texas; not sufficient evidence to support new line
  • Willing to modify Z-mod but asks commission not to approve today
  • Glotfelty – How much of line is needed for wind stability and steel facility
    • ERCOT identified need for new line and increased reliability


Commissions Comments

  • McAdams – Line N will bisect two family ranches; Line T will bisect another farm
  • Glotfelty – I have worked with companies that have developed windfarms; want to look at wind leased land to assess more
  • Cobos – Good idea to take time to consider newly proposed lines and respect the public testimony of homeowners
  • Lake – Critical decision for reliability; table item until next open meeting where decision will be made

Item 12: Docket No. 52074 – Application of Southwestern Public Service Company for Approval of Consulting Fee Rider. (Final Order) Margaux Fox

  • Staff – Revised proposed order was filed; staff provides memo with changes
  • Lake – Concerns about carrying charge and interest rates; commission agrees
  • Cobos – 3 changes to be made; effective date, carrying cost interest rate, and reconciling the under recovery and over recovery costs
  • McAdams – This is essentially a loan and not an investment; need to set precedent so companies understand expectations moving forward
  • Consulting fee rider should be revised to cost of debt from last rate case; around 4.34%
  • Effective date changed to the date the order is signed; add Cobos statement of amending under recovery and over recovery
  • Modified motion passes

Item 14: Docket No. 52314 – Application of Texas-New Mexico Power Company to Reconcile Final AMS Costs. (Final Order) Margaux Fox

  • McAdams – Need to exclude expenses from 47472 because only rate cases can be used to recover expenses
  • Modified motion passes


Item 15: Docket No. 52356 – Petition of Southwestern Electric Power Company for Approval of a Consulting Fee Rider. (Final Order) Margaux Fox

  • Lake – Similar issue to item 12; use same language with changes to effective date, ordering paragraph for over and under recovery, and changing carrying charge to cost of debt
  • Modified motion passes

Item 18: Docket No. 52929 – Notice of Violation of OCI Alamo 1, LLC for Violations of 16 TAC § 25.55, Concerning Winter Weather Readiness Reporting Requirements. (Preliminary Order) Grace Lager

  • Cobos – Happy with preliminary order
  • McAdams – Want to show good faith effort and everyone willing to comply
  • Motion passes


Item 19: Docket No. 52931 – Notice of Violation by Texas Big Spring, LLC for Violations of 16 TAC § 25.55, and ERCOT Nodal Protocols § 3.21(3), Concerning Failure to Comply with Winter Weather Emergency Preparedness Reporting Requirements. (Preliminary Order) Grace Lager

  • Cobos – Important and timely order; commission agrees
  • Motion Passes


Item 20: Project No. 21072 – Goal for Natural Gas Capacity. (Discussion and possible action, including Waiver of Filing Requirement and Annual Report for 2022). Werner Roth

  • Lake – Annual process
  • McAdams – Disagree with statue that excludes renewables; could use some digging
  • Motion passes (3,1)


Item 24: Project No. 52373 – Review of Wholesale Electric Market Design. (Discussion and possible action)

  • Cobos – Thanks ERCOT for filing the backstop reliability services; want to ensure that cost allocation is incentivized by demand response
  • ERCOT is recommending the RUC process with BRS; want to ensure there are no unintended consequences that will negate proposed market reform


Item 26: Project No. 52934 – Review of Rules Adopted by the Independent Organization. (Discussion and possible action)

  • Cobos – Comfortable with order and memo changes made by staff
  • Glotfelty – Have process questions but feels comfortable voting; wants time to understand rules before other action is taken
  • Motion passes


Item 30: Discussion and possible action on electric reliability; electric market development; power-to-choose website; ERCOT oversight; transmission planning, construction, and cost recovery in areas outside of ERCOT; and electric reliability standards and organizations arising under federal law.

  • ERCOT Staff – ERCOT issued operating condition models a week before the storm; continued to monitor for cold weather, wind generation, and precipitation
  • Wind generation was less than expected, little generation outages, electricity prices stayed low during the event; no significant reliability issues for the grid during this storm
  • Cobos – Is there an aggregated demand or cost response for last week’s weather
    • ERCOT Staff – Price was not impacted enough to show change; not a lot of price shifts to draw demand
    • Real time market never increased above $95 dollars; this price did not last for more than an hour
  • Lake – Thanks to ERCOT, TxDOT, and RRC partners


Item 31: Discussion and possible action regarding implementation of state and federal legislation affecting electricity markets including current and projected rulemakings and other projects, comments to other state and federal agencies and Commission priorities.

  • Lake – Federal government passed Infrastructure and Jobs Act; lots of jobs to create by utility and construction
  • Asked Cobos to begin a review for the best use of these federal funds


Item 34: Discussion and possible action regarding agency review by Sunset Advisory Commission, operating budget, strategic plan, appropriations request, project assignments, correspondence, staff reports, agency administrative issues, agency organization, fiscal matters, and personnel policy.

  • Staff – Received calls from companies sending thanks to the emergency demand coordinator
  • Construction beginning on Glotfelty’s office


Item 37: Closed Executive Session

  • No action taken from closed session