HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES             H.C.R. NO.            
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                     HOUSE CONCURRENT
                        RESOLUTION
  REQUESTING THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION TO OPEN A GENERIC
    DOCKET ON THE ISSUES OF OVERHEAD AND UNDERGROUND PLACEMENT
    OF UTILITY LINES.



 1        WHEREAS, modern life is dependent on electricity and
 2   Hawaii's residents must be provided with a reliable and secure
 3   power supply; and
 4   
 5        WHEREAS, the issue of high voltage electric transmission
 6   line placement is a complex question of cost to consumers,
 7   aesthetics, cultural, economic, environmental, health, and
 8   safety issues; and
 9   
10        WHEREAS, the construction, maintenance, and utilization of
11   overhead electric transmission lines are thought to have more
12   adverse impacts on natural resources and the health and well-
13   being of consumers than underground placement of transmission
14   lines; and
15   
16        WHEREAS, given changes in technology, public sentiment,
17   and other influences, "conventional overhead technology" may
18   not be the best balance among environmental, social, economic,
19   and engineering concerns; and
20   
21        WHEREAS, the expected long life of new taller steel poles
22   and transmission lines mandate that planning for the future
23   must be considered in determining whether high-voltage electric
24   transmission lines are placed above ground or underground; and
25   
26        WHEREAS, piecemeal and incremental development with little
27   overall future planning has allowed overhead utility lines that
28   impact negatively on the beauty of Hawaii; and
29   
30        WHEREAS, there is broad support for public policy that
31   mandates that all utility lines should go underground unless it
32   can be established that they will not be a visual blight; and
33   
34        WHEREAS, the factors to be considered in determining the
35   placement of electric transmission lines should include:
36   

 
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                                  H.C.R. NO.            
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1        (1)  The amortized cost over the usable life of
 2             underground facilities, which usable life generally
 3             exceeds that of above ground facilities;
 4   
 5        (2)  The amortized cost of maintenance over the useful
 6             life of the respective facilities;
 7   
 8        (3)  The cost of disruption of service and repair arising
 9             from exposure of overhead facilities to natural
10             disasters such as hurricanes;
11   
12        (4)  The cost arising directly and indirectly from the
13             negative public perception which results from
14             continued advocacy of overheading, notwithstanding
15             clear public sentiment in opposition;
16   
17        (5)  The cost associated with traffic and other accidents
18             relating to exposed overhead transmission facilities;
19   
20        (6)  The potential or actual impact on the public health
21             and welfare from EMF radiation exposure;
22   
23        (7)  The cost of liability insurance and the long-term
24             liability exposure arising from continued overhead
25             line EMF radiation emission;
26   
27        (8)  The impact on Hawaii's tourism industry and other
28             industries' reliance on Hawaii's natural beauty such
29             as the film industry from the deterioration of that
30             beauty resulting from overhead facilities;
31   
32        (9)  The impact on the health and welfare of Hawaii's
33             residents from the continued erosion of Hawaii's
34             natural resources resulting from overhead facilities;
35   
36       (10)  Negative impact on firefighting caused by lines
37             creating a hazard and obstacle for helicopters; and
38   
39       (11)  The impact on property values and cultural or
40             historic sites;
41   
42   and
43   

 
 
 
 
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                                  H.C.R. NO.            
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1        WHEREAS, although sections 269-27.5 and 269-27.6, Hawaii
 2   Revised Statutes, address procedure and criteria for
 3   consideration in the Public Utilities Commission's
 4   determination of above or below ground placement for
 5   transmission lines, these provisions may not adequately provide
 6   for, address, or incorporate all the issues and concerns,
 7   including those specified above; and
 8   
 9        WHEREAS, the Legislature believes that it is in the public
10   interest that all issues of overhead or underground
11   construction of electric transmission lines be thoroughly
12   evaluated in a more general context to develop general
13   governing principles rather than in the context of a specific
14   powerline proposal; now, therefore,
15   
16        BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the
17   Twentieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session
18   of 2000, the Senate concurring, that the Public Utilities
19   Commission is requested to open a generic docket at the
20   earliest opportunity for the purpose of thoroughly evaluating
21   and analyzing the broad issues of overheading versus
22   undergrounding electric transmission lines; and
23   
24        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the docket is requested to
25   include:
26   
27        (1)  The full scope of all relevant issues, including
28             those addressed in this Concurrent Resolution,
29             including the actual costs of both types of line
30             placements; demonstration of need and service
31             reliability; service redundancy avoided and public
32             policy options for legislative evaluation;
33   
34        (2)  A report setting forth factors to be considered by
35             the Public Utilities Commission, or if necessary,
36             development of proposals to be submitted to the
37             Legislature for statutory changes deemed advisable or
38             necessary in the criteria utilized to guide decision
39             making on overheading versus undergrounding,
40             including criteria regarding:
41   

 
 
 
 
 
 
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                                  H.C.R. NO.            
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1             (A)  Unresolved public health hazards that may result
 2                  from overhead electrical transmission lines:
 3                  when do public health and welfare concerns
 4                  indicate that undergrounding must or should be
 5                  required;
 6   
 7             (B)  How the full cost of overheading versus
 8                  undergrounding is to be calculated:  what
 9                  methods of cost estimation of both types of line
10                  placement will be used and what cost allocation
11                  methods will be used;
12   
13             (C)  How any legitimate cost differential is to be
14                  allocated; and
15   
16             (D)  The actual costs of both types of line
17                  placement, including environmental costs;
18   
19   and
20   
21        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Public Utilities
22   Commission, in conducting this generic docket, is requested to
23   consider other states' requirements and programs to install new
24   underground utility facilities or to convert existing overhead
25   utility facilities, and to consult with appropriate
26   governmental agencies and private independents, and to consider
27   the opinions of independent experts; and
28   
29        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Public Utilities
30   Commission is requested to submit a report concerning the
31   status of this docket and any findings and recommendations,
32   including proposed legislation, to the Legislature not later
33   than twenty calendar days prior to the convening of the Regular
34   Session of 2001; and
35   
36        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
37   Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the
38   Public Utilities Commission; the Governor; the Chairperson of
39   the Board of Land and Natural Resources; the Director of
40   Health; the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality
41   Control; the Consumer Advocate; the Mayor of the City and
42   County of Honolulu; the Mayor of the County of Maui; the Mayor
43   of the County of Kauai; the Mayor of the County of Hawaii;

 
 
 
 
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                                  H.C.R. NO.            
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1   Hawaiian Electric Industries; Kauai Electric Company; Life of
 2   the Land; Sierra Club; The Outdoor Circle; Malama o Manoa,
 3   Iliuolakalani Coalition; Safe Power Action Network; League of
 4   Women Voters of Honolulu; Historic Hawaii Foundation; and the
 5   Natural Resources Defense Council.
 6 
 7 
 8 
 9                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________