STAND. COM. REP. NO. 45-20
RE: H.B. No. 2186
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, to which was referred H.B. No. 2186 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to exempt projects that place high-voltage electric transmission infrastructure underground from mandatory approval by the Public Utilities Commission (Commission), if certain conditions are met.
Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Division of Consumer Advocacy, Public Utilities Commission, and Life of the Land.
Your Committee finds that it is often more significantly expensive to build electric transmission lines underground compared to above the ground. Placing certain conditions on the approval process for entities, other than a public utility, responsible for the cost of undergrounding would streamline the process and be more efficient where there is no additional cost to ratepayers.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that an entity other than the public utility shall pay the entire cost for building underground;
(2) Providing that the Commission shall have 60 days to take action on the public utility's mandatory report before it will be assumed that the public utility may proceed with the project; and
(3) Changing its effective date to July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2186, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2186, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection,
NICOLE E. LOWEN, Chair