AEP, Texas's LCRA form transmission venture

American Electric Power Co. Inc., (AEP) Columbus, Ohio, and Texas's Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA)Thursday said they are forming a $90 million partnership to build a segment of a proposed 219-mi high-voltage power line that will move electricity from wind farms and natural gas- fired power plants in west Texas to power consuming regions of the state.


American Electric Power Co. Inc., (AEP) Columbus, Ohio, and Texas's Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA)Thursday said they are forming a $90 million partnership to build a segment of a proposed 219-mi high-voltage power line that will move electricity from wind farms and natural gas-fired power plants in west Texas to power consuming regions of the state.

Subject to approval by the Texas Public Utilities Commission, the proposed 345-kv power line will stretch from Morgan Creek, east of Big Spring, to Comanche, southwest of Fort Worth.

It will connect TXU Electric & Gas Co.'s Morgan Creek power station in Mitchell County to a proposed switching station AEP will build at Twin Buttes, Tom Green County. From Twin Buttes, the line will connect to West Texas Utilities's (WTU) Red Creek station in Tom Green County, and will continue to TXU's Comanche switching station. WTU is an AEP subsidiary.

The proposed 150-mi AEP-LCRA segment will run from the Mitchell County line to the Brown County line. TXU Electric & Gas, a unit of TXU Corp., Dallas, will build and own 19 miles to the north of the AEP-LCRA segment as well as about 50 miles of line to the east of the AEP-LCRA portion.

The agreement between AEP and the LCRA calls for AEP to manage construction of the line, perform local field operations, and maintain the line and related facilities. The LCRA will handle the construction financing and will own the project's transmission assets.

LCRA, a water management and power district created by the state, transmits wholesale electricity to cooperatives and city-owned utilities. Because of its favorable cost structure, Gen. Manager Joe Beal said LCRA ownership and financing of this project will mean lower costs for consumers.

Under the state's 1999 restructuring law, LCRA received authority to be a statewide transmission supplier. All electric consumers who use the power grid share the cost of the Texas transmission system.

The Independent System Operator of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has recommended the project and has set a 2003 deadline for it to be in operation. The siting process is under way, the companies said.

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