Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 14, 2008

GA Supreme Court Finds State Agency Not Required to Regulate Placement of Utility Substations

In overturning the Court below, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that although the state Public Service Commission has authority to regulate the siting of utility substations, the law does not mandate that they exercise that authority.  The Court noted that there is no requirement that every property or every complex construction project be subject to zoning-like restrictions, and pointed out that the state legislature has expressly recognized that even a local government is not required to exercise zoning power. See, OCGA sec. 36-66-2(a).  The Court said it would be counterintuitive to suggest that the mere grant of power implies a duty to exercise that power.  Therefore, the Court held that the trial court erred in holding that the Public Service Commission had a clear public duty to hear the case seeking to halt the construction of an electrical substation near residential properties, and that the trial court further erred in ordering the Commission to select and apply specific standards governing the siting of substations to this matter.   


Georgia Public Service Commission v. Turnage, 2008 WL 4762017 (Ga. 11/3/2008).


The opinion can be accessed at:

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