State Sen. Chapin Rose and the Illinois Farm Bureau teamed up to add legal protections for homeowners and landowners when it comes to the planning and surveying for electric transmission lines on their property.
“This legislation is designed to provide better notification and more transparency during the entire process to landowners who are potentially involved in these projects,” Rose said. “Obviously, when you ‘flip a switch,’ we all want the lights to turn on, but how the big power companies treat people when planning for the delivery of electric service is no less important.”
Senate Bill 1726 requires a public utility seeking to construct a high-voltage electric service line or related project to have held at least two pre-filing public meetings to receive comments and concerns about the project in each county where the line could be located. Mailed notifications must go out to all land owners in the right of way, and the utility must provide a second notice to landowners if the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approves the project before surveying can begin.
“By having better information and notification, these landowners will be able to get involved in the ICC’s review of the proposed transmission lines, and their property rights would be better considered for the ICC’s review process,” Bill Bodine from the Illinois Farm Bureau said.
The legislation is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives.
“With numerous transmission line projects in the works across the state, it’s imperative the rights of property owners are respected,” Rose said. “I want to thank the Illinois Farm Bureau for their commitment to this issue and helping us draft this legislation. One recent transmission filing failed to properly notify property owners that they were even involved in the filing. That was wrong. Likewise, surveyors shouldn’t be coming on your land as if the ICC had already ruled in the utilities’ favor. People have a right to know exactly what is going on.”
“By having better information, it will hopefully reduce the frustration from landowners because they will be able to better involve themselves in the ICC’s review of a proposed electric line,” Bodine said. “We really appreciate Senator Rose’s work on this issue. He’s put in long hours and talked to many people to make this legislation happen.”