SWEPCO wants a 29-mile power line for proposed SW AR power plant

HOPE, AR (KSLA) - Even though SWEPCO has not gotten all the necessary permissions to build a planned power plant in Hempstead County, the company has applied for a permit for a 29-mile electric transmission line between the plant and Texarkana.

The company filed the permit paperwork Tuesday with the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The 345-kilovolt line would run from an electric substation in Leary, Texas through Miller, Little River and Hempstead Counties. The cost is estimated at $30.8 million.

An attorney for the Hempstead County Hunting Club, which opposed the plans for the 600-megawatt power plant, says the transmission lines should have been a part of the original plant application.

Attorney Chuck Nestrud also said numerous landowners would be affected because of the large right-of-way area needed.

The plant itself still faces obstacles. There's an appeal before the Arkansas PUC on their approval of the plant, and staffers for Texas utility regulators said the board should deny SWEPCO's request to raise rate in Texas to pay for the plant. The board has not made a decision. Meanwhile SWEPCO has already started site work on the plant's 3,000 acres near Fulton, AR.

SWEPCO has about 452,000 customers in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.