By Austin Business Journal

The Lower Colorado River Authority is moving forward with plans to construct about 200 miles of power transmission lines estimated to cost more than $367 million.

The water and electricity provider established in 1934 currently supplies power to more than 1.1 million Texans, including many in Central Texas. It also co-owns a plant between Austin and Houston with Austin Energy.

The LCRA Transmission Services Corp. filed an application this week with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to allow construction of a 345-kilovolt line through the Hill Country. The project would connect a new power station being build in the city of Eldorado with stations in Kendall and Gillespie counties just outside of Blanco County and provide a new path for wind energy to reach the market.

The utility has submitted a preferred route as well as 73 alternate paths through Schleicher, Sutton, Kimble, Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie, Menard and Mason counties. The lines could range from about 150-200 miles.

The PUC is expected to choose the route, often not the utility's preferred, by January 2011. The project would take about two years to complete. A pre-hearing on the plan will be held Sept. 1 at the Palmer Events Center in Austin.

The line is part of a $4.9 billion state-mandated effort to deliver reliable, cost-effective power produced in West Texas and the Panhandle to homes and businesses throughout the state.

Residents wishing to contest the project must do so by Aug. 27. They can send a comment to Public Utility Commission of Texas, Central Records, Attn: Filing Clerk, 1701 N. Congress Ave., P.O. Box 13326.

LCRA garnered an A+ bond rating from Fitch Ratings earlier this year, and is negotiating sale of $426 million worth in refunding revenue guarantees.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2010/07/26/daily42.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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