Texas utilities propose high-voltage power line for Rio Grande Valley

HOUSTON, July 8 Mon Jul 8, 2013 7:15pm EDT

HOUSTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Two Texas transmission companies plan to build a 100-mile, 345-kilovolt high-voltage line to improve electric service in Brownsville and the Lower Rio Grande Valley near Texas' border with Mexico, the companies said on Monday.

Sharyland Utilities LP and Electric Transmission Texas LLC (ETT) have filed a joint application seeking approval from the Texas Public Utility Commission to construct the Cross Valley Project in portions of Hidalgo and Cameron counties estimated to cost between $314 million and $405 million.

ETT is a joint venture between units of American Electric Power Co and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

If approved, the project could be completed by summer 2016, the companies said in a release.

Based on preliminary routing, the power line could be from 96 miles (154 km) to 125 miles long, running from the AEP Texas North Edinburg Substation in Hidalgo County, south to a location near the existing AEP Texas South McAllen Substation, then east to the Brownsville Public Utilities Board Loma Alta Substation in Cameron County near the Brownsville Ship Channel.

"The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission and Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito areas are consistently among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Texas, and with this growth comes an increased need for reliable electric power," said Mark Caskey, Sharyland president.

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