TITLE 83: PUBLIC UTILITIES
CHAPTER I: ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION
SUBCHAPTER b: PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MORE THAN ONE KIND OF UTILITY
PART 300 GUIDELINES FOR LAND AND RIGHT-OF-WAY ACQUISITIONS
SECTION 300.APPENDIX A STATEMENT OF INFORMATION FROM THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION CONCERNING ACQUISITION OF LAND OR LAND RIGHTS-OF-WAY BY ILLINOIS UTILITIES AND COMMON CARRIERS BY PIPELINE
Section 300.APPENDIX A Statement of Information from the Illinois Commerce Commission Concerning Acquisition of Land or Land Rights-of-Way by Illinois Utilities and Common Carriers by Pipeline
A representative of a public utility or a common carrier by pipeline (collectively the company) is contacting you to negotiate the purchase of property or the acquisition of land or a land right-of-way over or through property that you own, or in which you have an interest as an owner. The company proposes to construct, operate and maintain certain facilities on your land, as set forth in the accompanying letter. The company representative contacting you will further explain the proposed project.
The purpose of this Statement is to provide you with general information regarding the Illinois Commerce Commission's (Commission's) regulatory process governing a company's proposed project, including the procedures that companies must follow before they can exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire land or land rights. Eminent domain is the power of the State, or those to whom the power is delegated by the State, to take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation to the landowner as is determined by the courts. This Statement covers several questions that landowners commonly pose to Commission staff members about proceedings at the Commission that relate to a company's proposed project when a company seeks to place facilities on or near those landowners' property. This Statement, however, is not a legal opinion concerning your rights under the law, or the Commission's rules. It also is not a detailed analysis of the procedures involved. If you have any questions concerning your legal rights, you may wish to consult an attorney.
Requests for a Commission Certificate under
Section 8-406, 8-406.1, or 15-401 of the Public Utilities Act
Ordinarily, before constructing major new facilities, a public utility must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Commission under Section 8-406 or 8-406.1 of the Public Utilities Act [220 ILCS 5/8-406 or 8-406.1]. Likewise, a common carrier by pipeline ordinarily must obtain a certificate in good standing from the Commission under Section 15-401 of the Public Utilities Act [220 ILCS 5/15-401] before constructing a pipeline or other facility. In either case, to obtain a certificate, the utility or common carrier files an application with the Commission describing the proposed project. The Commission then initiates a proceeding to consider evidence regarding the application and notifies affected landowners of the date, time and place of the initial hearing regarding the proposed project. If you have concerns about such a proposal, the Commission encourages you to participate in the Commission's certificate proceeding. Changes to a company's proposal are much less likely after the Commission has approved the proposal and issued the company a certificate. Landowners may participate in the proceeding, either through oral or written statements, or by intervening in the proceeding regarding the proposed project, as provided in the Commission's Rules of Practice (83 Ill. Adm. Code 200). In this type of proceeding, the Commission considers such factors as the public need for the proposed project, the type of facilities to be constructed, and the feasibility of the proposed location of the facilities. If the Commission determines that a company has met the requirements for obtaining a certificate and it approves the facility's design and location, it will grant a certificate to the company authorizing construction of the facility and the route that the facility will take across or through property not owned or controlled by the company.
Requests for a Commission Order Under
Section 8-503 of the Public Utilities Act
A company may also seek a Commission Order under Section 8-503 [220 ILCS 5/8-503] authorizing or directing it to construct the proposed project, either in conjunction with its request to obtain a certificate under Section 8-406 or 15-401, or separately. If a company seeks an order pursuant to Section 8-503 in a separate proceeding, the Commission will notify affected landowners of the Section 8-503 proceeding, and affected landowners may participate in this type of proceeding in the same manner as is described above for applications for certificates under Section 8-406 or 15-401. If, at the conclusion of the proceeding, the Commission grants the company's request for an order pursuant to Section 8-503, it will issue an order authorizing the proposed project or directing the company to construct the proposed project, including the specific route of the facility. If the Commission grants a company's request for a certificate under Section 8-406.1, the Section 8-406.1 order must also contain an order pursuant to Section 8-503 authorizing or directing the construction of the high voltage electric service line.
Requests for Eminent Domain Authority Pursuant to
Section 8-509 of the Public Utilities Act
A company seeking a certificate under Section 8-406.1 or a Commission Order under Section 8-503 may also apply to the Commission for authorization under Section 8-509 [220 ILCS 5/8-509] to use the power of eminent domain through the courts pursuant to the Eminent Domain Act [735 ILCS 30] to acquire the land or land rights necessary for the project. The company may elect to seek Commission authorization pursuant to Section 8-509, either in conjunction with its request for a certificate under Section 8-406.1 or for a Commission Order under Section 8-503, or separately. If the Commission authorizes the use of eminent domain under Section 8-509, and if the company is unable to reach agreement with the landowners to acquire the property interests necessary to complete the proposed project, the company will file a condemnation lawsuit in the circuit court where the property is located in order to obtain the property interests that the project requires. The courts, not the Commission, make the final decision as to whether the company can acquire land or land rights by eminent domain and, if so, the compensation that the company will pay to the landowner.
Attempts by Companies to Acquire Property Rights
Before seeking a Commission Order authorizing or directing a company to construct a project, a company may choose to acquire land or land rights from landowners. A company may seek to purchase land or acquire a right for use of the land. Alternatively, a company may seek to obtain an option to purchase land or land rights at a future date. A company representative will provide affected landowners with information regarding the price and other terms that the company intends to offer for the land or land rights. Such a company uses its own forms for this type of transaction. The Commission does not require a company seeking to acquire land or land rights to use any particular form.
The price and other terms for the land or land rights is a matter of negotiation. between each landowner and a company. The Commission does not participate in the negotiation The Commission also does not establish or approve the negotiated price and other terms for the acquisition of land or land rights. Negotiation involves discussion and bargaining in an effort to reach a mutual agreement. During the negotiations, and at any time, you may be represented by an attorney. However, you are under no obligation to retain anyone to provide legal counsel. Further, you are under no obligation to negotiate or reach an agreement with the company that is seeking to acquire land or land rights. The Commission does not require such a company to obtain by negotiation a fixed amount or percentage of land or land rights necessary for the project before it seeks Commission authorization to acquire land or land rights.
The Commission typically makes its final decision regarding a project's route in certificate proceedings. Once a company obtains a certificate, issues such as the specific route of the project are not typically reconsidered in subsequent Section 8-503 proceedings before the Commission. Once a company obtains a Commission Order pursuant to Section 8-503 for a project, issues such as the specific route of the project will not be reconsidered in subsequent Section 8-509 proceedings before the Commission and in subsequent condemnation proceedings before the courts. You should not delay in taking whatever action that you believe is, or may be, necessary to protect your property interests. If you elect to negotiate with a company, the Commission encourages you or your representative to negotiate vigorously.
If you have any questions about this Statement or Commission rules and procedures, please contact:
Director, Safety & Reliability Division
Illinois Commerce Commission
527 East Capitol Avenue
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Please address specific questions concerning your individual property to the company representative.
(Source: Amended at 37 Ill. Reg. 2864, effective March 1, 2013)