Georgia Transmission Siting (8-GA-a)
Georgia Power Company operates the transmission network, though each utility is responsible for its own transmission lines. American Public Power Association – Joint Ownership of Transmission, 4. Under Georgia law, public utilities can exercise the power of eminent domain in order to construct transmission lines. Ga. Code Ann. §22-3-160.1.
Transmission Siting Process
8-GA-a.1 — Contact the Georgia Public Services Commission
A developer should contact the Georgia Public Services Commission to determine if approval is required before building or operating a bulk transmission project.
8-GA-a.2 to 8-GA-a.4 — Does the Project Require a Transmission Line of 115 kV or more with a Length of One Mile or More?
A utility (developer) may exercise the right of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing or expanding an electric transmission line in Georgia. A “utility” means a person, corporation or other entity that generates, transmits, distributes, supplies, or sells electricity for public or private use in Georgia or generates electricity in Georgia for transmission or distribution outside the state. Ga. Code Ann. §22-3-160. Before exercising the right of eminent domain for the purposes of constructing or expanding an electric transmission line with a design operating voltage of 115 kV or more and a length of one mile or more, a utility (developer) must ensure that the location of the line is practicable and feasible. The developer must consider the following factors in selection:
- Existing land uses in the area where the line is to be located;
- Existing corridors;
- Existing environmental conditions;
- Engineering practices related to the construction and operation of the line; and
- Costs related to the construction operation and maintenance of the line.
8-GA-a.5 to 8-GA-a.7 — Provide Notice of Public Meeting
Prior to the public meeting or meetings, the utility (developer) must provide adequate notice of the developer’s intent to construct or expand an electric transmission line. The developer must provide this notice by publishing adequate public notice at least 30 days prior to said public meeting or meetings in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which any portion of the electric transmission line is to be constructed or expanded. The notice must include:
- The date, time, and location of each meeting;
- A statement that the purpose of the meeting or meetings is to provide public notice of intent to construct the transmission line and potentially exercise the power of eminent domain;
- A description of the proposed project including the route of the line and property area where construction will be performed;
- The width of the proposed route; and
- A description of the alternative construction approaches considered and why they were rejected.
The developer must also provide notice by certified mail at least 30 days before the meeting or meetings to each owner of property over which the developer intends to construct or expand the electric transmission line. This mail service must also be given to the chairpersons or chief executives of the counties and mayors of the municipalities where the property is located. At least one public meeting must be conducted in each county where the electric transmission line will be located. If the project would require the property rights of more than 50 property owners, at least two meetings must be held. The meetings must be accessible to the public and at least one held between 6:00 and 7:00 PM on a weekday. The developer must state at the meetings the route of the electric transmission line, width of the proposed route, and a description of the alternative construction approaches considered and why they were rejected. At the public meeting the developer must provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the project. Ga. Code Ann. §22-3-160.1.
8-GA-a.8 — Negotiate with Property Owner
A developer may only exercise the right of eminent domain if there has been a good faith attempt to negotiate a settlement with each property owner from whom property rights are required. The developer must provide the property owner with a written offer to purchase the property rights, a document that describes the rights, and a drawing that shows the location of the line on the property.
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