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Minutes for HB2367 - Committee on Utilities

Short Title

Authorizing the state corporation commission to regulate certain transmission line wire stringing activities.

Minutes Content for Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Matt Sterling, Office of the Revisor of Statutes gave an overview of the bill, explaining HB2367 would provide that any entity that is exempt from the jurisdiction of the Kansas Corporation Commission pursuant to K.S.A. 66-104(e) would not be exempt from the wire stringing requirements of K.S.A. 66-183.

Currently, K.S.A. 66-104(e) authorizes certain entities to exempt their activities and facilities from public utility regulation. To be exempt, such activities or facilities must relate to the generation, marketing or sale of electricity from an electric generation facility or an addition to an electric generation facility that: (1) Was constructed on or after January 1, 2001; and (2) is not in the rate base of any electric public utility.

The bill would provide that this exemption is not intended to exempt such entities from the wire stringing requirements of K.S.A. 66-1-183. Those wire stringing requirements pertain to all public utilities owning or operating telephone or electric wires along or across the streets, highways, or public places in Kansas.

The Chairman called for proponent testimony.

Proponent oral testimony

Leo Haynos, Chief Engineer, Utilities Division, Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) spoke as a proponent of the bill, stating KCC has identified at least 376 miles of transmission power lines associated with renewable generation that are exempted from Commission oversight.  On May 28, 2018, a 115kV generator tie-line in Haskell County was damaged in a storm, broke loose from its moorings and draped across a distribution electric line and a county highway.  The next day, a semi-truck hit the downed line and the driver was killed.

He stated with the popularity of commercial renewable electric generators being placed in Kansas, the proliferation of tie-lines will increase with the need to connect renewable generation to the electric grid.  Passage of the bill will benefit the safety of the public by allowing enforcement of National Electric Safety Code standards.  (Attachment 1)

Leslie Kaufman, V.P. Governmental Relations & Legal Counsel, Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. spoke as a proponent of the bill stating they believe HB 2367 allows the KCC to bring generator tie/lead lines at a voltage of 34.5 kV and greater under the KCC wiring stringing rules requiring the owners of such lines to design and construct their transmission lines in accordance with national Electric Safety Code clearance and loading requirements. (Attachment 2)

Written proponent testimony

Joseph R. Astrab, Attorney, Citizens' Utility Ratepayers Board (Attachment 3)

The Chairman opened up for a period of question and answers.

Seeing no more questions, The Chairman called for oral neutral testimony.

Oral neutral testimony

Joshua Svaty, speaking on behalf of Advanced Power Alliance provided neutral testimony, stating they do not oppose HB 2367 as the wind industry has no trouble confirming its assets are built to federal safely standards.  Further, most of the counties in which wind farms and solar projects are constructed  have similar construction standards.  He said the information provided to the KCC will be useful and is not a cumbersome request. (Attachment 4)


Conferees providing opponent testimony:


The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 2:01pm.