THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1137

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to utility lines.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the power grid and communication systems become ever more critical to modern life, and that grid resiliency and system reliability are essential for public health, safety, and general welfare. Utility poles, commonly known as telephone poles for the days when wired telephones and fax machines were state-of-the-art communications, are vulnerable to damage from wind, fire, flood, termites, and other hazards. Hawaii's natural beauty is adversely impacted by the ongoing installation and replacement of utility poles, with each generation taller and more intrusive than the earlier generation.

The legislature further finds that underground utilities have been required in all new residential and commercial developments for decades. These types of utilities provide a better living environment, are less vulnerable to service interruptions, and less expensive to maintain over time. Grid resiliency and communication reliability are paramount for the increasing interconnectivity of modern life. Therefore, now is the time to begin complete underground conversion of utility lines.

The purpose of this Act is to establish the 2050 grid resiliency and view plane initiative.

SECTION 2. Chapter 269, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"269-   2050 grid resiliency and view plane initiative; established; installation of underground utility lines. (a) There is established a 2050 grid resiliency and view plane initiative to mandate that all utility lines be installed underground by December 31, 2050, with exclusions as provided by subsection (c).

(b) Each utility company that sells its regulated services for consumption in the State shall establish an underground standard of:

(1) The quantification of all above-ground utility lines, a proposed exclusion list as provided in subsection (c), and establishment of a systematic plan to underground all non-excluded utility lines, by December 31, 2024;

(2) Twenty-five per cent of all non-excluded above-ground utility lines shall be undergrounded by December 31, 2030;

(3) Sixty per cent of all non-excluded above-ground utility lines shall be undergrounded by December 31, 2040; and

(4) One hundred per cent of all non-excluded above-ground utility lines shall be undergrounded by December 31, 2050.

(c) The public utilities commission shall approve, deny, or approve with conditions any formal submissions by utility companies to exclude specific segments of their above-ground utility lines from the requirements of this section within twelve months of receipt of a complete application for exclusion. An exclusion from the requirements of this section may be granted if the public utilities commission determines the utility company has sufficiently demonstrated that undergrounding of a particular segment of its above-ground utility lines would be excessively expensive, would be technologically impractical, or create significant, adverse environmental impacts. In determining whether or not an exclusion is warranted, the commission shall consider:

(1) The cost-benefit comparison of maintaining each segment over fifty years, with careful consideration of system resiliency and interruptions caused by wind, flood, fire, termites, and other hazards;

(2) The natural environment, view planes, public health, safety and general welfare of the public; and

(3) Geographic, environmental, and cultural considerations;

provided that the criteria under paragraph (2) shall be given priority.

(d) The public utilities commission shall establish rules and policies to effectuate this section.

(e) This section shall not apply to any application by a public utility or determination by the public utilities commission of whether high-voltage electric transmission lines shall be placed, constructed, erected, or built above or below the surface of the ground pursuant to section 269-27.6."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

2050 Grid Resiliency and View Planes Initiative; Utility Lines; Underground

 

Description:

Establishes the 2050 grid resiliency and view planes initiative to mandate that all utility lines be installed underground by December 31, 2050, under certain conditions. Requires a public utility to establish a plan for reaching certain target dates for completion of the initiative. Provides exemptions.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.