HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION OF HIGH-VOLTAGE ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Section 269-27.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§269-27.6 Construction of high-voltage electric transmission lines; overhead or underground construction. (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, whenever a public utility applies to the public utilities commission for approval to place, construct, erect, or otherwise build a new 46 kilovolt or greater high-voltage electric transmission system, either above or below the surface of the ground, the public utilities commission shall determine whether the electric transmission system shall be placed, constructed, erected, or built above or below the surface of the ground; provided that in its determination, the public utilities commission shall consider:
(1) Whether a benefit exists that outweighs the costs of placing the electric transmission system underground;
(2) Whether there is a governmental public policy requiring the electric transmission system to be placed, constructed, erected, or built underground, and the governmental agency establishing the policy commits funds for the additional costs of undergrounding;
(3) Whether any governmental agency or other parties are willing to pay for the additional costs of undergrounding;
(4) The recommendation of the division of consumer advocacy of the department of commerce and consumer affairs, which shall be based on an evaluation of the factors set forth under this subsection; and
(5) Any other relevant factors.
(b) In making the determination set forth in subsection (a), for new 138 kilovolt or greater high-voltage electric transmission systems, the public utilities commission shall evaluate and make specific findings on all of the following factors:
(1) The amortized cost of construction over the respective usable life of an above-ground versus underground system;
(2) The amortized cost of repair over the respective usable life of an above-ground versus underground system;
(3) The risk of damage or destruction over the respective usable life of an above-ground versus an underground system;
(4) The relative safety and liability risks of an above-ground versus underground system;
(5) The electromagnetic field emission exposure from an above-ground versus underground system;
(6) The proximity and visibility of an above-ground system to:
(A) High density population areas;
(B) Conservation and other valuable natural resource and public recreation areas;
(C) Areas of special importance to the tourism industry; and
(D) Other industries
particularly dependent on
(7) The length of the system;
(8) The breadth and depth of public sentiment with respect to an above-ground versus underground system; and
(9) Any other factors that the public utilities commission deems relevant.
(c) A public utility making an application to the public utilities commission under this section shall clearly and fully state and support its evaluation of each factor set forth in subsection (b).
(d) Notwithstanding the requirements under subsection (a) or (b), a public utility shall not be required to seek public utilities commission approval to place, construct, erect, or otherwise build a high-voltage electric transmission system, if:
(1) The electric transmission system is to be built underground;
(2) The entire cost due to building underground, rather than above-ground, is paid by an entity other than the public utility;
(3) Prior to commencing construction, the public utility provides a report to the public utilities commission, with a copy to the consumer advocate, describing in detail the electric transmission system and provides sufficient documentation that affirms that the additional costs of building the electric transmission system underground will be paid by an entity other than the public utility; and
(4) The public utilities commission shall have sixty days to take action on the report filed pursuant to paragraph (3), or it shall be assumed that the public utility may proceed with the project."
SECTION 2. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
PUC; Public Utility; High-voltage Electric Transmission Lines; Electric Transmission Systems
Eliminates the requirement for a public utility to seek PUC approval for the underground construction of high-voltage electric transmission lines if certain conditions are met. Takes effect on 7/1/2050. (HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.