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Nebraska Public Service Commission Transmission Approval (8-NE-d)

In Nebraska, a developer must obtain authority to construct certain electric transmission lines from the Nebraska Public Service Commission (“NPSC”). NPSC has “general supervision over all wires for transmitting electric current, or any other wire that crosses under or over any railroad track in Nebraska at public highway crossings.” 75 N.R.S. § 702. NPSC also has supervision over certain lines that are within close proximity to existing electrical or communication lines. 75 N.R.S. § 710. NPSC regulates jurisdictional transmission lines pursuant to Nebraska – 75 N.R.S. §§ 101 et seq., Public Service Commission, Nebraska Regulations – 291 N.A.C. §§ 002 et seq., Transmission Line Rules and Regulations.


Public Service Commission Transmission Approval Process

8-NE-d.1 to 8-NE-d.2 – Is NPSC Approval Required?

Nebraska Public Service Commission (“NPSC”) approval is necessary for transmission and distribution lines (and increases in voltage of existing lines) that “exceed 1,500 volts that will be located within a quarter mile of any existing electrical or communication line, or railroad signal lines or are in excess of 700 volts that will be located within 500 feet of any existing electrical, or communication line, or railroad signal lines.” 75 N.R.S. § 710; 291 N.A.C. § 002.01. NPSC approval is not required for transmission lines that meet the above criteria, but are “within the limits of any incorporated city or village.” 75 N.R.S. §§ 709-710.

NPSC approval is also required for any transmission lines that cross or go under any railroad track or railroad rights-of-way at public highway crossings. 75 N.R.S. § 703-704, 706-707.

In addition, NPSC approval is required for any “…construction or alteration of any overhead wire, cable, or pipeline, where the height is greater than five feet above the elevation of an airport…” and within “…five hundred feet of the nearest boundary of the airport.” 75 N.R.S. § 713. However, there is no need for an Application “when the construction or alteration is within the corporate limits of a city or village and is adjacent to other structures of a permanent character which are of equal or greater height than the construction or alteration proposed.” 75 N.R.S. § 713.

8-NE-d.3 to 8-NE-d.4 – Is the Project Exempt from NPSC Approval?

In certain circumstances, a developer may only need to provide notice to NPSC and may not have to submit a NPSC – Transmission Application. 75 N.R.S. § 720; 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C). A project exemption applies when:

  • “The developer gives written notice by certified mail to any person who owns or operates electrical, communication, or railroad signal lines located within either a quarter mile (for those projects that exceed 1,500 volts) and within 500 feet (for those projects that exceed 700 volts).” 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(1);
  • The notice provides a full description of the proposed construction “…including location drawing, electrical characteristics, physical configuration, and length of parallel of and proposed separation from other electrical communication, or railroad signal lines…” 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(2)-002.06(C)(2)(a);
  • Those person(s) on notice, excluding the NPSC, “…fail to file with the electric transmission carrier (developer), within sixty (60) days of receipt of notice, a written protest, together with the reasons for objecting to the proposed construction.” 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(2)(a); and
  • For transmission construction near an airport in accordance with 75 N.R.S. § 713, the electric transmission carrier (developer) may also need to file a signed copy of the agreement of the Director of Aeronautics (if required by law), including concurrence with the proposed construction. 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(2)(a).

Note: Receipt of waiver is also evidence that the sixty (60) day notice period is waived. 75 N.R.S. § 720.

In addition, a developer’s project may only require notice to NPSC and not Application approval in the following circumstances:

  • Transmission lines within the limits of any incorporated city or village are exempt from NPSC approval. 75 N.R.S. § 724.

8-NE-d.5 to 8-NE-d.7 – Does the Proposed Project Qualify for a Delayed Application?

Certain projects qualify for a Delayed Application process, where the developer may build a transmission line prior to approval. If the project qualifies for a Delayed Application process, the developer must submit a NPSC – Transmission Application within thirty (30) days after construction of the line extension. 75 N.R.S. § 719; 291 N.A.C. § 002.05. The developer must still comply with Nebraska – 75 N.R.S. §§ 101 et seq., Public Service Commission, and Nebraska Regulations – 291 N.A.C. §§ 002 et seq., Transmission Line Rules and Regulations. In addition, “all provisions of law relating to electric transmission line Applications, notices, hearings, and orders still apply to a Delayed Application. If NPSC determines that the Application should be denied because the line does not comply with law, the owner must remove the line extension.” 75 N.R.S. § 719; 291 N.A.C. § 002.05.

The following circumstance qualifies for a Delayed Application process:

  • A line extension not more than one-half mile in length, for which an Application is required under 75 N.R.S. §710, may be built from an existing transmission line prior to obtaining approval from NPSC if all the owners or operators of existing electrical or communication lines, or railroad signal lines located within either a quarter mile (for those projects that exceed 1,500 volts) and within 500 feet (for those projects that exceed 700 volts), and the Director of Aeronautics (if applicable), consent to the construction.” 75 N.R.S. § 719.

8-NE-d.8 – Transmission Application and Fee

The developer must submit a complete Nebraska Public Service Commission – Application for Authority to Construct, Operate, and Maintain Electric Transmission Line (“NPSC – Transmission Application”) to the NPSC for approval. The developer should file with the signed NPSC – Transmission Application the following:

  • Three copies of the route map, designated as Exhibit A, showing the route of the proposed line and any existing electrical or communication lines or railroad signal lines within the respective distances described above. The route map should identify and give names of the owners of each line and should follow the specifications outlined in 291 N.A.C. § 002.02A;
  • Three copies of the engineering specifications, designated as Exhibit B, showing the manner of the construction of the proposed line and following the specifications outlined in 291 N.A.C. §§ 002.02B-002.02C; and
  • Other information as NPSC may prescribe.

75 N.R.S. § 710.

In addition, the developer should submit the appropriate filing fee with the NPSC – Transmission Application. 291 N.A.C. §§ 002.02B-002.03.

8-NE-d.9 to 8-NE-d.10 – Review Application for Completeness

NPSC reviews the NPSC – Transmission Application for administrative and technical completeness. NPSC may request any additional information from the applicant (developer) as necessary to make a decision on the NPSC – Transmission Application.

8-NE-d.11 – Does the Proposed Project Qualify for an Expedited Review?

In certain circumstances, the NPSC may expedite review of a NPSC – Transmission Application. If the project qualifies for an expedited review, neither public notice nor a public hearing is required. 75 N.R.S. § 720. To qualify for an expedited review the developer must:

  • “The developer gives written notice by certified mail to any person who owns or operates * “The developer gives written notice by certified mail to any person who owns or operates electrical, communication, or railroad signal lines located within either a quarter mile (for those projects that exceed 1,500 volts) and within 500 feet (for those projects that exceed 700 volts).” 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(1);
  • The notice provides a full description of the proposed construction “…including location drawing, electrical characteristics, physical configuration, and length of parallel of and proposed separation from other electrical communication, or railroad signal lines…” 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(2)-002.06(C)(2)(a);
  • For transmission construction near an airport in accordance with 75 N.R.S. § 713, the electric transmission carrier (developer) may also need to file a signed copy of the agreement of the Director of Aeronautics (if required by law), including concurrence with the proposed construction. 75 N.R.S. § 720, 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(C)(2)(a); and
  • NPSC finds that the NPSC – Transmission Application conforms to the laws of Nebraska and the regulations of NPSC. 75 N.A.C. § 002.06(A).

8-NE-d.12 – Publish Notice of Application and Public Hearing

NPSC must publish notice of the NPSC – Transmission Application NPSC must publish notice and public hearing regarding the Application. 75 N.R.S. § 711. NPSC must notify “all parties who own or operate electrical or communication lines or railroad signal lines that are likely to be affected by the construction of the electrical lines to appear at a public hearing at a time and placed determined by NPSC.” 75 N.R.S. § 711.

Construction Near Airports

After an Application is filed, NPSC will notify the Director of Aeronautics of the Application and the details of the hearing (if applicable). 75 N.R.S. § 714. The Director of Aeronautics “will notify the owners of and persons operating upon any licensed airport affected by any Application filed,” and “about the details of the hearing.” 75 N.R.S. § 715.

8-NE-d.13 – Hold Public Hearing

Any party notified above may appear at the public hearing and participate in the proceeding in accordance to 75 N.R.S. § 711.

Construction Near Airports

The Director of Aeronautics “may appear at the hearing and make objections to the granting of permission for the construction.” 75 N.R.S. § 715.

8-NE-d.14 to 8-NE-d.15 – Does NPSC Approve the Application?

NPSC will make a decision on the NPSC – Transmission Application by considering the Application materials and the comments obtained at the public hearing. NPSC may prohibit the construction of any line that do not provide “…sufficient clearance between such lines and existing properly constructed transmission, telephone, and telegraph lines so that they do not interfere with the reasonable safe, operation, and efficiency of existing lines.” 75 N.R.S. §§ 709, 721. NPSC must make an order and prescribe terms and conditions for the location, and operation of the proposed line, as it may deem just and reasonable. 75 N.R.S. § 721.

If electric lines are constructed parallel or intersect one-wire ground return telephone lines, and the lines are maintained and operated with proper engineering specifications NPSC will not deny a NPSC – Transmission Application because of this interference. 75 N.R.S. § 712.

Construction Near Airports

The Commission will determine “whether the applicant has made adequate allowance for the proper glide angles for the landing of aircraft at the airport concerned.” 75 N.R.S. § 717.

8-NE-d.16 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

“Any party to the proceeding may appeal a NPSC decision by filing a notice of intention to appeal with the executive director of the NPSC within thirty (30) days after the effective date of the order…” 75 N.R.S. §§ 722, 136.




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