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  • Acts
  • 2004
  • Chapter 249 AN ACT RELATIVE TO ELECTRIC TRANSMISSIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of "Electric company" and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

"Electric company", a corporation organized under the laws of the commonwealth for the purpose of making by means of water power, steam power or otherwise and selling or transmitting and selling, or transmitting only, or distributing and selling, or only distributing, electricity within the commonwealth, or authorized by special act so to do, even though subsequently authorized to make or sell gas; provided, however, that electric company shall not mean an alternative energy producer; and provided, further, that a distribution company shall not include any entity which owns or operates a plant or equipment used to produce electricity, steam, and chilled water, or any affiliate engaged solely in the provision of such electricity, steam, and chilled water, where the electricity produced by such entity or its affiliate is primarily for the benefit of hospitals and nonprofit educational institutions, and where such plant or equipment was in operation before January 1, 1986; and provided, further, that electric company shall not mean a corporation only transmitting and selling, or only transmitting, electricity unless such corporation is affiliated with an electric company organized under the laws of the commonwealth for the purpose of distributing and selling or distributing only, electricity within the commonwealth.

SECTION 2. Said chapter 164 is hereby further amended by striking out section 2, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 2. In construing sections 69G to 69 O, inclusive, 70, 71, 74 to 83, inclusive, 92 to 95, inclusive, 103, 105, 106, 109, 112 to 114, inclusive, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 123 to 127, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires, the terms "corporation", "gas company" and "electric company" shall include (i) all persons, firms, associations and private corporations which own or operate works or a distributing plant for the manufacture and sale, or distribution and sale of gas for heating and illuminating purposes, or of electricity, within the commonwealth, or (ii) or a transmission company that is affiliated with an "electric company", but shall not include any alternative energy producer other than persons, firms, associations, and private corporations expressly excluded from the definition of "electric company" in section 1; and in construing sections 103, 105, 109, 112 to 114, inclusive, 116, 117, 120, 121, and 123 to 127, inclusive, the terms "corporation", "gas company" and "electric company" shall include municipal corporations which own or may acquire municipal lighting plants. Electric companies, which engage in generation and which are not part of a vertically integrated electric company or do not have a distribution affiliate in the commonwealth, shall be exempt from sections 3 to 33, inclusive, and section 93. Electric companies, which engage solely in the transmission or transmission and sale of electricity, shall be exempt from this chapter to the extent that they are preempted by federal law.

SECTION 3. Section 69J of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

A petition to construct a facility shall include, in such form and detail as the board shall from time to time prescribe, the following information: (1) a description of the facility, site and surrounding areas; (2) an analysis of the need for the facility, either within or outside, or both within and outside the commonwealth; (3) a description of the alternatives to the facility, such as other methods of transmitting or storing energy, other site locations, other sources of electrical power or gas, or a reduction of requirements through load management; and (4) a description of the environmental impacts of the facility. The board shall be empowered to issue and revise filing guidelines after public notice and a period for comment. A minimum of data shall be required by these guidelines from the applicant for review concerning land use impact, water resource impact, air quality impact, solid waste impact, radiation impact and noise impact.

SECTION 4. Section 71 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- Nothing in this section shall prohibit a corporation that is not subject to this chapter from constructing lines for the transmission of electricity nor shall it authorize the corporation to construct lines for the transmission of electricity.

SECTION 5. Section 72 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 1, the words "An electric company" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- (a) Any electric company, distribution company, generation company, or transmission company or any other entity providing or seeking to provide transmission service.

SECTION 6. Said section 72 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the sixth sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences:- If the electric company, distribution company, generation company or transmission company or any other entity providing or seeking to provide transmission service shall file with the department a map or plan of the transmission line showing the towns through which it will or does pass, the public ways, railroads, railways, navigable streams and tide waters in the town named in said petition which it will cross, and the extent to which it will be located upon private land or upon, under or along public ways and places, the department, after such notice as it may direct, shall give a public hearing or hearings in 1 or more of the towns through which the line passes or is intended to pass. The department may by order authorize an electric company, distribution company, generation company, or transmission company or any other entity to take by eminent domain under chapter 79 such lands, or such rights of way or widening thereof; or other easements therein necessary for the construction and use or continued use as constructed or with altered construction of such line along the route prescribed in the order of the department.

SECTION 7. Said section 72 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "company", in line 52, the following words:- , distribution company, generation company, or transmission company or any other entity.

SECTION 8. Said section 72 of said chapter 164, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following sentence:- No entity shall be authorized under this section or section 69R or section 24 of chapter 164A to take by eminent domain any lands or rights of way or other easements therein held by an electric company or transmission company to support an existing or proposed transmission line without the consent of the electric company or transmission company.

Approved August 2, 2004.