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Legislative Year: 2021 Change

Bill Detail: SB21-072

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Title Public Utilities Commission Modernize Electric Transmission Infrastructure
Status Governor Signed (06/24/2021)
Bill Subjects
  • Energy
  • State Government
House Sponsors M. Catlin (R)
A. Valdez (D)
Senate Sponsors D. Coram (R)
C. Hansen (D)
House Committee Energy and Environment
Senate Committee Transportation and Energy
Date Introduced 02/16/2021

Section 1 of the bill directs the public utilities commission (PUC)
to approve utilities' applications to build new transmission facilities if the
PUC, in its discretion, finds that the new facilities would assist the
utilities in meeting the state's clean energy goals established in 2019. In
constructing or expanding transmission facilities, a utility must use its
own employees, engage a contractor whose employees have access to
federally approved apprenticeship programs, or both. Section 1 also
requires the PUC to consider the ability of the proposed facilities to
support future expansion as needed to enable the utility to participate in
a regional transmission organization (RTO). An application for
construction or expansion of transmission facilities is deemed approved
if the PUC does not deny it within 180 days after the application is
complete and public notice has been given.
Sections 4 and 5 create the Colorado electric transmission
authority (CETA) as an independent special purpose authority, and
section 4 specifies the composition and manner of appointment of the
board of directors that governs the authority. CETA is authorized to select
a qualified transmission operator to finance, plan, acquire, maintain, and
operate eligible electric transmission and interconnected storage facilities
(eligible facilities).
Under sections 4 and 6, CETA is granted various powers
necessary to accomplish its purposes, including the power to:
  • Issue revenue bonds;
  • Identify and establish intrastate electric transmission
  • Coordinate with other entities to establish interstate electric
transmission corridors;
  • Exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire eligible
facilities; and
  • Collect payments of reasonable rates, fees, interest, or other
charges from persons using eligible facilities.
CETA is generally subject to state open records and open meetings
requirements, but proprietary confidential information that it holds,
including power purchase agreements, costs of production, costs of
transmission, transmission service agreements, credit reviews, detailed
power models, and financing statements, is not subject to inspection.
Section 8 authorizes payment of CETA's administrative expenses, not to
exceed $500,000 annually, from an existing cash fund administered by the
Section 2 sets out deadlines and conditions under which an electric
utility that owns and controls transmission facilities is required to join an
RTO. The commission may delay or waive this requirement for a utility
that is unable, despite its best efforts, to find a viable and available RTO
to join or if the commission finds, in the course of its ongoing study of
RTOs under Senate Bill 19-236, that requiring the utility to join an RTO
would not be in the public interest.
Under current law, a cooperative electric association with an
electric easement on real property is authorized to install or to allow a
commercial broadband supplier to install broadband facilities on the real
property, subject to notice and procedural requirements. Section 3
expands the authorization to also apply to either of the following entities
with an electric easement:
  • A generation and transmission cooperative electric
association; or
  • The federal western area power administration within the
United States department of energy.
Section 7 specifies that when a right-of-way is taken for an
interstate electric transmission line, the court shall evaluate public
purpose in light of the transmission system as a whole, including public
use and benefits occurring both within Colorado and at a regional level.

Committee Reports
with Amendments
Full Text
Full Text of Bill (pdf) (most recent)
Fiscal Notes Fiscal Notes (09/02/2021) (most recent)  
Additional Bill Documents Bill Documents
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  • Past fiscal notes
  • Committee activity and documents
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