How does the condemnation process work in utility projects?
The Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) governs utility projects in Arkansas. Specifically, the APSC has been given the authority to determine the necessity for utility projects within the state and authorize the power to use eminent domain.
Generally, a utility company must file an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with APSC to construct, own and operate a new utility project. Once a certificate of public convenience and necessity is issued, a utility company has the authorization for construction, operation, and maintenance of the project.
Before construction can commence, the utility company must first offer what it considers just compensation for the easement necessary to build the project.
If the property owner does not accept the offer, then the utility company can condemn the property necessary to construct, operate and maintain the project. In that case, a landowner is entitled to jury trial to ultimately determine the amount of just compensation owed by the utility company for the taking of the property.
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