BILL NUMBER: SB 814 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Senator Ashburn
FEBRUARY 27, 2009
An act to amend Section 625 of the Public Utilities Code, relating
to public utilities.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
SB 814, as introduced, Ashburn. Public utilities: eminent domain.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory
authority over public utilities. Existing law authorizes certain
public utilities to condemn property, as prescribed, but prohibits
specified public utilities that offer competitive services from
condemning any property for the purpose of competing with another
entity in the offering of those competitive services, unless the
commission finds, pursuant to a petition or complaint filed by the
public utility, in accordance with specified provisions that such an
action would serve the public interest.
This bill would provide that specified notice requirements do not
apply to a condemnation eminent domain action brought by a public
utility consistent with these provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 625 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to
625. (a) (1) (A) For the purpose of this article, except as
specified in paragraph (4), a public utility that offers competitive
services may not condemn any property for the purpose of competing
with another entity in the offering of those competitive services,
unless the commission finds that such an action would serve the
public interest, pursuant to a petition or complaint filed by the
public utility, personal notice of which has been served on the
owners of the property to be condemned, and an adjudication hearing
in accordance with Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1701),
including an opportunity for the public to participate.
(B) The requirements of this section do not apply to the
condemnation of any property that is necessary solely for an
company corporation or gas
corporation to meet its commission-ordered obligation to serve.
Proposed exercises of eminent domain by electrical or gas
corporations that initially, or subsequently, acquire property for
either commission-ordered electrical corporation obligation to serve
and competitive telecommunications services or gas corporation
obligation to serve and telecommunications services are subject to
paragraph (2) of subdivision (b). For property acquired through the
exercise of eminent domain after January 1, 2000, by an electrical or
gas corporation solely to meet its commission-ordered obligation to
serve, any electrical or gas corporation, or subsidiary or affiliate,
that intends to install telecommunication equipment on the property
for the purpose of providing competitive telecommunications services
shall provide notice for the planned installation in the commission
(2) (A) Before making a finding pursuant to this subdivision, the
commission shall conduct the hearing in the local jurisdiction that
would be affected by the proposed condemnation. The hearing shall
commence within 45 days of the date that the petition or complaint is
filed, unless the respondent establishes that an extension of not
more than 30 days is necessary for discovery or other hearing
preparation. The commission shall provide public notice of the
hearing pursuant to the procedures of the commission and shall also
notify the local jurisdiction. In addition, the commission shall
provide the local jurisdiction with copies of the notice of hearing
in time for the local jurisdiction to mail that notice at least seven
days in advance of the hearing to all persons who have requested
copies of the local jurisdiction's agenda or agenda packet pursuant
to Section 54954.1 of the Government Code.
(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), "local jurisdiction" means
each city within whose boundaries property sought to be taken by
eminent domain is located, and if property sought to be taken is not
located within city boundaries, each county within whose boundaries
that property is located. However, where there is more than one local
jurisdiction with respect to a single complaint or petition, the
commission shall provide notice and copies of notices for mailing to
all local jurisdictions involved, but shall hold only a single
hearing in any one of those local jurisdictions.
(3) (A) The assigned commissioner or administrative law judge
shall render a decision on making a finding in accordance with this
subdivision within 45 days of the conclusion of the hearing, unless
further briefing is ordered, in which event this period may be
extended by up to 30 additional days to allow for briefing.
(B) If the rendering of a decision pursuant to this subdivision
requires review under the California Environmental Quality Act
(Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources
Code), then the time limits contained in subparagraph (A) of
paragraph (2) and subparagraph (A) of this paragraph
(3) shall be extended as needed to accommodate
(4) This subdivision and Section 626 do not apply to a railroad
corporation, a refined petroleum product common carrier pipeline
corporation, or a water corporation.
(b) The commission may make a finding pursuant to subdivision (a)
if, in the determination of the commission, either of the following
conditions is met:
(1) The proposed condemnation is necessary to provide service as a
provider of last resort to an unserved area, except when there are
competing offers from facility-based carriers to serve that area.
(2) The public utility is able to show all of the following with
regard to the proposed condemnation:
(A) The public interest and necessity require the proposed
(B) The property to be condemned is necessary for the proposed
(C) The public benefit of acquiring the property by eminent domain
outweighs the hardship to the owners of the property.
(D) The proposed project is located in a manner most compatible
with the greatest public good and least private injury.
(c) The commission shall develop procedures to facilitate access
for affected property owners to eminent domain proceedings pursuant
to this section, and to facilitate the participation of those owners
in those proceedings.
(d) Nothing in this section relieves a public utility from
complying with Section 1240.030 of the Code of Civil Procedure or any
other requirement imposed by law.
(d) (1) A public
utility that does not comply with this section may not exercise the
power of eminent domain, including, but not limited to, any authority
provided by Title 7 (commencing with Section 1230.010) of Part 3 of
the Code of Civil Procedure. Nothing in this section relieves a
public utility from complying with Section 1240.030 of the Code of
Civil Procedure or any other requirement imposed by law. The
authority provided in this section supplements, and does not replace
or otherwise affect any other limitation in law on the exercise of
the power of eminent domain, including, but not limited to, any
authority provided by Title 7 (commencing with Section 1230.010) of
Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the
requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 1255.410 of the Code of
Civil Procedure do not apply to a condemnation eminent domain action
brought by a public utility consistent with this section.
(f) The authority provided in this section supplements, and does
not replace or otherwise affect any other limitation in law on the
exercise of the power of eminent domain, including, but not limited
to, any authority provided by Title 7 (commencing with Section
1230.010) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(e) (1) At the request of a public utility gas
corporation, the commission shall hold the local hearing required in
subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) and
make and certify the finding required by paragraph (1) of subdivision
(a) as part of the procedure to issue a certificate of public
convenience and necessity.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the commission
holds public hearings during the certification procedure for the
purpose of making the determination required under paragraph (2) of
subdivision (b), the commission shall have an additional 45 days
beyond the date of any otherwise applicable statutory or regulatory
deadline for making a determination.