STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3
RE: H.B. No. 592
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, to which was referred H.B. No. 592 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO UTILITIES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
(1) Explore, through its docket process, the feasibility of relocating above-ground electrical transmission lines and distribution lines underground in high-risk areas on the island of Maui; and
(2) Submit a report to the Legislature prior to the Regular Session of 2022.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from Life of the Land. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Public Utilities Commission.
Your Committee finds that placing electric transmission and distribution lines above or below ground is a complex issue with certain benefits and challenges. Placing facilities underground provides more resiliency to certain damaging events, but is costly to install and requires more time and costs to restore service. Placing facilities overhead makes it more susceptible to damage from certain events, but is less costly and faster to restore services than underground facilities. Therefore, exploring solutions to the challenges of above-ground electrical infrastructure will provide for better planning of the energy infrastructure in the State.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that the Public Utilities Commission shall explore solutions to the problems posed by siting of above-ground electrical infrastructure in high-risk areas, rather than the feasibility of relocating above-ground electric transmission lines and distribution lines underground in certain areas on the island of Maui;
(2) Requiring that the assessment include the costs of possible solutions and potential impact for customers on the island of Maui, rather than the amortized costs of relocating above-ground electric transmission and distribution lines underground;
(3) Changing the effective date to July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
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. 592, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 592, 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