Digging deeper: Entergy proposes new transmission line

The Public Utility Commission of Texas is currently evaluating Entergy's proposal for a new transmission line, which would span up to 26 miles between China and Stowell.

John Teague and his wife built their home along County Line Road in Winnie a year ago. It's so new, it doesn't even show up on Google Maps. Where it does appear is on Entergy's proposal for a new transmission line spanning up to 26 miles between China and Stowell.

"We got a letter from Entergy asking for 150 feet of eminent domain on our side of the road, which happens to be our entire property," Teague said about the property his family called home for generations. "It's everything they ever worked for."

He said if Entergy runs its transmission line down County Line Road, as is proposed in one route, he would lose his home.

"My wife and I built this home a year ago," said Teague. "One year ago."

The transmission line is necessary, according to Vernon Pierce, Entergy's vice president of customer service.

"If we were not allowed to build new powerlines, it would be terrible," said Pierce. "We'd tell some industry or homeowners that we don't have the power to serve you."

The energy company's 127-page proposal is currently under review by the Public Utility Commisison of Texas, which already heard from Teague and dozens of other property owners, including Curtis Dearing.

"Palms are my passion. I love palm trees," said Dearing, explaining why he started Palms of Paradise 14 years ago.

One of Entergy's proposed routes cuts right along the front of his property.

"This is my life. This is my living. Entergy is going to destroy it," Dearing said.

Pierce said Entergy doesn't intend to destroy anyone's life or living, but this transmission line has to go up.

"It is a balancing act, but we value our customers. We value their opinions too," Pierce said.

A Beaumont attorney who's representing several property owners who could be affected by the line offered tips about what to do if you ever get a similar letter.

"A lot of people think that initial offer is way too low," Wendell Radford said. "It is important at that point to probably go ahead and hire an appraiser."

You have 30 days to respond after receiving that initial offer, then negotiations begin. You will either reach a deal or you won't. If it's the latter, the entity will make a final offer, to which you have 14 days to respond. In rare cases, Radford said, the case will make it to a judge and jury.

"The expenses for the landowners become relatively excessive," he said.

Pierce told 12News that Entergy will start conversations with property owners next August. Construction will begin in March 2018 and be complete in June 2019.

As for which route gets built and which homes are affected, regulators will decide that. Teague, his family and neighbors said they hope their homes get to stay put.

(© 2016 KBMT)


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