El Paso Electric to build new power lines in Montana Vista

POSTED: 10:34 PM MDT Oct 16, 2013    UPDATED: 04:08 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

El Paso Electric Company is planning to build three new power lines in Montana Vista to meet growing electricity demand, driven by a surge of home development in the area.

The company visited City Rep. Michael Noe's district five meeting Wednesday to talk specifics.

"People buy property and build a home and start a family on land that they don't know a year or two down the road is gonna have a major power line built right on it," Noe said. "I want the people who live out here to know where these power lines are gonna go."

A proposed switching station would go just north of the Magellan Tank Farm on Frankie Lane. Each new line has three or four alternatives for how it will connect with existing lines.

The first would link with the existing Montwood substation. One route hugs John Hays Street and Augusta Drive. The others would cut down Mager Drive and Tim Floyd Road.

A second line would go either around the west side of Magellan Tank Farm and parallel with Augusta Drive, or hug Rene or Mager drives and hit existing lines.

The third would run even with Frankie Lane or near Montana Avenue.

"There's a lot of construction going on, a lot of families moving to the area," said resident Alberto Delgado. "If we can move those transmission lines farther from the community, I think it will be better. Especially if we can prevent a risk, if there is a health problem."

Power lines have not been proven to pose any significant health risks, said company spokeswoman Marybeth Stevens. The lines cost roughly $1 million per mile to build, so the plans have been carefully thought out, she said.

The company is now waiting for the state Public Utility Commission to choose the most sensible route for each of the three lines.