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Arizona Transmission Siting Process (8-AZ-a)

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has authority over the transmission siting process in the state of Arizona. Any utility planning to construct a transmission line designed to operate at 115kV or more must file an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) with the ACC prior to construction. ARS 40-360(10) and 40-360.03. A “utility” is defined, in part, as “any person engaged in the…transmission of electric energy.” ARS 40-360(11). “Person is defined as “any state or agency, or political subdivision thereof, or any individual, partnership, joint venture, corporation, city or county, whether located within or without this state, or any combination of such entities.” ARS 40-360(8).


Transmission Siting Process Process

8-AZ-a.1 to 8-AZ-a.2 – Is the Proposed Project Designed to Operate at 115kV or Greater?

Developers planning to construct a transmission line designed to operate at 115kV or more must submit an application for a CEC with the ACC. ARS 40-360.03. Projects for transmission projects designed to operate at less than 115kV, while exempt from the CEC requirement, must still comply with local government planning and zoning regulations. ARS 40-360.06(A)(1).

8-AZ-a.3 – Ten Year Plan

Developers planning to construct a transmission line designed to operate at 115kV or more must file a Ten Year Plan (“plan”) with the ACC on or before January 31 of each year. ARS 40-360.02(A). The developer must submit the initial plan 90 days before filing its CEC application. ARS 40-360.02(B). The plan must contain the following information to the extent that it is available:

  • The size and proposed route of any transmission lines;
  • The purpose to be served by each proposed transmission line;
  • The estimated date by which each transmission line will be in operation; and
  • Technical reports, analysis or basis for projects that are included for serving customer load growth in a service territory. ARS 40-360.02(C).

If the developer fails to comply with any of these requirements, the ACC may refuse to consider the developer’s CEC application. ARS 40-360.02(E).

8-AZ-a.4 – Application for Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Supporting Documents

The developer must file 25 copies of each CEC application with supporting exhibits with the Director of Utilities of the ACC. AAC R14-3-203(A). The application must contain:

  • The name and address of the developer or developers;
  • The name, address, and telephone number of a representative of an applicant who has access to technical knowledge and background information concerning the application in question and who will be available to answer questions or furnish additional information;
  • Each date on which the developer has filed a Ten Year Plan, designating each such filing in which the project for which the application is made were described;
  • A nominal voltage for which the transmission line is designed, a description of the proposed structures and switchyards or substations associated with it, and the purpose for constructing the transmission line;
  • A description of the geographical points between which the transmission line will run, the straight line distance between such points and the length of the transmission line for each alternative route for which the application is made;
  • A nominal width of right of way required, nominal length of spans, maximum height of supporting structures and minimum height of conductor above ground;
  • To the extent available, the estimated costs of proposed transmission line and route, stated separately;
  • A description of the proposed route and switchyard locations;
  • For each alternative route for which a CEC application is made, a list of the ownership percentages of land traversed by the entire route;
  • A list of the areas of jurisdiction affected by each alternative site or route, and a designation of those proposed sites or routes, if any, which are contrary to the zoning ordinances or master plans of any such areas of jurisdiction; and
  • Any environmental studies the developer has performed or caused to be performed in connection with the CEC application, or intends to perform or cause to be performed in connection with the CEC application, including contemplated date of completion.

AAC R14-3-219.

8-AZ-a.5 to 8-AZ-a.7 – Refer Application to the TLSC

CEC applications require a public hearing before the Arizona Transmission Line Siting Committee (TLSC). The ACC, within five days of filing, refers the CEC application to the TLSC for review and decision. ARS 40-360.03 and AAC R14-3-203(B). The chairman of the TLSC, within 10 days after receiving an application, provides public notice of the time and place of the hearing and provides notice by certified mail to the affected areas of jurisdiction at least 20 days prior to the hearing. ARS 40-360.04(A). The presiding officer, either the TLSC chairman or a qualified hearing officer appointed by the TLSC, serves notice of a hearing on a CEC application on all parties. AAC R14-3-201 and AAC R14-3-205.

8-AZ-a.8 to 8-AZ-a.9 – Hold Public Hearing

Public hearings on CEC applications are conducted either by the full (TLSC) committee or by the hearing officer, and are presided over by the presiding officer. ARS 40-360.04(A). Parties to the hearing may present oral testimony and cross-examine witnesses. Any person may make a limited appearance in the proceeding by filing a statement with the chairman of the TLSC at least five days before the date of the hearing. Persons making a limited appearance are not permitted to present oral testimony or cross-examine witnesses. ARS 40-360.05(B). The TLSC reviews and considers the transcript of the public hearing and, by a decision of a majority of its members, issues or denies the CEC within 180 days after the developer files the CEC application. ARS 40-360.04(D).

8-AZ-a.10 to 8-AZ-a.11 – Does the TLSC Act on the Application Within the Applicable Time Period?

If the TLSC fails to act on a CEC application within the applicable time frame, the developer may, in its discretion, immediately proceed with the construction of the proposed transmission line. ARS 40-360.08(B).

8-AZ-a.12 to 8-AZ-a.14 – Does the TLSC issue the CEC?

If the TLSC issues the CEC, it will transmit the CEC to the ACC for review and approval. If the ACC approves the TLSC issuance of the CEC, the ACC will grant the CEC to the developer. If the TLSC does not issue the CEC, the developer may request that the ACC review the TLSC decision. ARS 40-360.07(A).

8-AZ-a.15 to 8-AZ-a.17 – Notice of Request for Review by the ACC

The developer must file a written notice of request for review with the ACC within 15 days after the TLSC issues its written decision. After filing its notice of request for review, the developer must serve the notice on the chairman of the TLSC and all other parties to the TLSC proceeding. AAC R14-3-214(C). The developer’s notice must state the grounds for review. The review is conducted on the basis of the record of the TLSC proceeding. The ACC may, at the request of any party, require written briefs or oral argument. The ACC renders a decision within 60 days after the developer files its notice. ARS 40-360.07(B).

8-AZ-a.18 – Does the ACC Review the TLSC Decision within the Applicable Time Period?

If the ACC fails to act on the review of the TLSC decision within the applicable time frame, the developer may, in its discretion, immediately proceed with the construction of the proposed transmission line. ARS 40-360.08(B).

8-AZ-a.19 to 8-AZ-a.20 – Does the ACC Reverse the TLSC?

If the ACC reverses the decision of the TLSC denying the CEC application, the ACC grants the CEC to the developer. ARS 40-360.07(B).

8-AZ-a.21 to 8-AZ-a.22 – Does the Developer Seek a Rehearing?

If the ACC denies the developer’s CEC application upon review, the developer may seek a rehearing before the ACC. If the developer seeks a rehearing, it must file an application for rehearing with the ACC within 20 days of the final order of the ACC upon review of the TLSC decision. ARS 40-253(A). The application must set forth the grounds on which it is based, and the ACC will not rely on any ground not set forth in the application. ARS 40-253(C). The developer will not have a claim for judicial review in any court unless the developer first applies for a rehearing with the ACC. ARS 40-253(B). If the ACC does not act on the developer’s application for rehearing within 20 days of its filing, the application is deemed denied. ARS 40-253(A).

8-AZ-a.23 to 8-AZ-a.24 – Does the ACC Grant the Rehearing?

The ACC may grant or deny the application for rehearing. If the ACC grants the rehearing it will consider all pertinent facts, including those arising since the prior ACC order, to determine whether any aspect of its original order is unjust, unwarranted or should be changed. ARS 40-253(E). If the ACC denies the developer’s application for rehearing, the developer may pursue judicial review in the Superior Court. ARS 40-254(A).

8-AZ-a.25 – Does the ACC approve the CEC upon Rehearing?

If the ACC rules in favor of the developer on rehearing, the ACC grants the CEC to the developer. If the ACC rules against the developer on rehearing, the developer may seek judicial review in the Superior Court. ARS 40-254(A).

8-AZ-a.26 to 8-AZ-a.27 – Notice of Appeal – Superior Court

Jurisdiction over the denial of a CEC application lies in the Superior Court of the county in which the ACC has its office. The developer must file a notice of appeal within 35 days after the denial of a rehearing by the ACC or within 35 days of being served with a copy of the ACC decision to be reviewed. ARS 40-254(A) and ARS 12-904(A). The notice must contain a statement of the findings to be reviewed. ARS 12-909(A). The developer must serve the notice of appeal on the ACC and all other parties within 10 days of the developer’s filing of the notice of appeal. ARS 12-904.

8-AZ-a.28 to 8-AZ-a.30 – Review ACC Decision

The Superior Court, upon request by any party within 30 days of the developer’s notice of appeal filing, holds an evidentiary hearing, including testimony and argument. The court may hear testimony from witnesses, whether or not they testified at the ACC hearing. ARS 12-910(A). If the Superior Court rules in favor of the developer, the ACC will grant the CEC. If the Superior Court rules against the developer, the project cannot continue.



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