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Illinois Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (8-IL-c)

In Illinois, a developer may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity “…prior to any [public] utility construction…” from the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”). Illinois Public Utilities Act (220 I.L.C.S §§ 5 et seq.) The ICC has the authority to regulate all public utilities pursuant to Illinois Public Utilities Act (220 I.L.C.S §§ 5 et seq.), and Illinois Regulations – 83 I.A.C. §§ 100 et seq., Public Utilities.


Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Process

8-IL-c.1 to 8-IL-c.2 – Is the Proposed Project Owned, Operated, or Managed by a Public Utility?

A public utility (developer) must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) from the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) “…prior to the construction of any new plant, equipment, property or facility…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.

A “public utility” is defined to include “…every corporation, limited liability company, association, … partnership, or individual…that owns, controls, operates or manages, within in the State, directly or indirectly, for public use, any plant, equipment or property used or to be used for or in connection with, or owns or controls…the production, storage, transmission, sale, delivery or furnishing of heat, cold, power, electricity, water, or light…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/3-105(a)-(a)(1).

Note: A public utility does not include “…public utilities owned and operated (including lessees or operating agents) by any political division, public institute of higher education or municipal corporation of the State…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/3-105(b)(1).

8-IL-c.3 to 8-IL-c.4 – Is the Proposed Project a Substitution, Extension, Alteration, or Addition of an Existing Plant or Facility?

A public utility (developer) does not need to obtain a CPCN for construction intended as a “…substitution, extension, alteration, or addition to any existing plant, equipment, property, or facility…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.

8-IL-c.5 to 8-IL-c.8 – Is the Proposed Project a High-Voltage Electric Service Line?

A public utility (developer) “…seeking to construct a high-voltage electric service line and related facilities must show that the utility has held at least two pre-filing public meetings to receive public comment concerning the project…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h). A “high-voltage electric line” means “…an electric line having a design voltage of 100,000 or more…” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(g).

The public utility must “…hold the pre-filing public meetings in each county where the project is located, no earlier than six (6) months prior to filing an Application for Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity (Application) from the ICC.” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h).

The public utility (developer) must publish notice of the public meeting in “…a newspaper of general circulation within the affected county once a week for three consecutive weeks, beginning no earlier than one month prior to the first public meeting.” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h). In addition, the public utility (developer) must file notice of the pre-filing public meeting with a description of the project with the clerk of each county where the project is to be located. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h). The public utility must also invite a member of the ICC to attend the pre-filing public meeting. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h).


8-IL-c.9 – Does the Project Qualify for an Expedited Review Process?

A project may qualify for an expedited review process, if the public utility (developer) meets the same “needs” test pursuant to 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406 and the following requirements:

  • Hold a minimum of three pre-filing public meetings;
  • Submit $100,000 Application fee;
  • Identify a primary and one alternate route; and
  • Include detailed description of the project, maps, and engineering data with the Application.

220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1

8-IL-c.10 – Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

A public utility (developer) must submit an Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“Application”) to the ICC. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h).

For high-voltage electric projects the Application should include, at minimum, the following:

  • A detailed description of the project, including location maps and plot plans to scale showing all major components;
  • Engineering data, including the name and destination of the project, design voltage rating (kV), operating voltage rating, normal peak operating current rating, and a description of the conductor, structures, and substations;
  • Application fee of $100,00; and
  • Information showing that the public utility has held at minimum three pre-filing public meetings to receive public comment concerning the project in each county where the project is located, in accordance with 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(h) and 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(a)(3).

220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(a).

8-IL-c.11 to 8-IL-c.12 – Review Application for Completeness

The ICC will review the Application for administrative and technical completeness after receipt. The ICC may request additional information, if necessary from the public utility (developer), including confidential or proprietary information. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(c).

8-IL-c.13 to 8-IL-c.14 – Publish Notice of Application and Public Hearing

The public utility (developer) must publish notice of the Application in the official State newspaper within ten (10) days following the date of the Application’s filing. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(d), 83 I.A.C. § 200.530. Within the discretion of the ICC, the first hearing may be held with less than ten (10) days notice if an emergency exists. 83 I.A.C. § 200.530. Public notice and hearings should be conducted pursuant to 83 I.A.C. §§ 200 et seq..

Expedited High-voltage Electric Line Projects

For expedited high-voltage electric line projects, the public utility must establish a dedicated website for the proposed project three (3) weeks prior to the first public meeting and maintain the website until construction of the project is complete. The public utility should include the website address in all public notices regarding the project. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(e).

The ICC must also notify each owner of record of land included in the right-of-way over which the utility seeks in its application to construct a high-voltage electric line, by certified mail. The notice must include the time and place scheduled for the initial hearing on the public utility’s Application. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(i). The administrative law judge will set a schedule for discovery that will take into consideration those high-voltage electric line expedited projects, and the expedited nature of the proceeding. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(b).


8-IL-c.15 to 8-IL-c.16 – Does the ICC Approve the Application?

After considering the Application materials and public comments the ICC will make a determination on the Application. “Whenever after a hearing the ICC determines that any new construction or the transaction of any business by a public utility will promote the public convenience and is necessary, the ICC must issue a CPCN. The ICC will “…determine that the proposed construction will promote the public convenience and necessity only if the utility demonstrates:

  • That the proposed construction is necessary to provide adequate, reliable, and efficient service to its costumers or that the proposed construction will promote the development of an effectively competitive electricity market that operates efficiently, is equitable to all customers and is the least cost means of satisfying those objectives;
  • That the utility is capable of efficiently managing and supervising the construction process and has taken sufficient action to ensure adequate and efficient construction and supervision thereof; and
  • That the utility is capable of financing the proposed construction without significant adverse financial consequences for the utility or its customers.”

220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406(b); 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(f).

After granting a CPCN, the ICC “…must design and establish all procedures necessary for the project to thoroughly and effectively evaluate, supervise, and monitor construction and must thereafter take steps necessary to assure that construction is efficient and economical.” 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-407(b).

Expedited High-voltage Electric Line Projects

The ICC must issue its decision with findings of fact and conclusions of law granting or denying an Application that meets the expedited process within 150 days after the Application is filed. | 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(g). The ICC may extend the 150-day deadline upon a finding of good cause to extend the deadline. 220 I.L.C.S § 5/8-406.1(d).

8-IL-c.17 – Request Rehearing and/or Appeal (If Applicable)

Any interested party may file an Application for Rehearing within thirty (30) days after service of the final order. The ICC may grant or deny the application for rehearing within twenty (20) days from the date of receipt by ICC. The interested party must first file an Application for Rehearing before filing for an appeal. 83 I.A.C. §§ 200.880.




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