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§ 1511.  Additional powers of certain public utility corporations.

(a)  General rule.--A public utility corporation shall, in addition to any other power of eminent domain conferred by any other statute, have the right to take, occupy and condemn property for one or more of the following principal purposes and ancillary purposes reasonably necessary or appropriate for the accomplishment of the principal purposes:

(1)  The transportation of passengers or property or both as a common carrier by means of elevated street railway, ferry, inclined plane railway, railroad, street railway or underground street railway, trackless-trolley omnibus or by any combination of such means.

(2)  The transportation of artificial or natural gas, electricity, petroleum or petroleum products or water or any combination of such substances for the public.

(3)  The production, generation, manufacture, transmission, storage, distribution or furnishing of natural or artificial gas, electricity, steam, air conditioning or refrigerating service or any combination thereof to or for the public.

(4)  The diverting, developing, pumping, impounding, distributing or furnishing of water from either surface or subsurface sources to or for the public.

(5)  The collection, treatment or disposal of sewage for the public.

(6)  The conveyance or transmission of messages or communications by telephone or telegraph for the public.

(7)  The diverting, pumping or impounding of water for the development or furnishing of hydroelectric power to or for the public.

(8)  The transportation of oxygen or nitrogen, or both, by pipeline or conduit for the public.

(b)  Restrictions.--The powers conferred by subsection (a) shall not be exercised:

(1)  To condemn for the purpose of constructing any street railway, trackless-trolley omnibus, petroleum or petroleum products transportation or aerial electric transmission, aerial telephone or aerial telegraph lines:

(i)  Any dwelling house or, except in the case of any condemnation for petroleum or petroleum products transportation lines, any part of the reasonable curtilage of a dwelling house within 100 meters therefrom and not within the limits of any street, highway, water or other public way or place.

(ii)  Any place of public worship or burying ground.

(2)  To condemn any place of public worship or burying ground for the purpose of constructing any elevated street railway, sewer or underground street railway line.

(c)  Public Utility Commission approval.--The powers conferred by subsection (a) may be exercised to condemn property outside the limits of any street, highway, water or other public way or place for the purpose of erecting poles or running wires or other aerial electric, intrastate aerial telephone or intrastate aerial telegraph facilities only after the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, upon application of the public utility corporation, has found and determined, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the service to be furnished by the corporation through the exercise of those powers is necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public. The power of the public utility corporation to condemn the subject property or the procedure followed by it shall not be an issue in the commission proceedings held under this subsection, and no court shall entertain any proceeding questioning the jurisdiction of the commission under this subsection. A final order of the commission approving or denying an application under this subsection, including an order involving a question of jurisdiction under this subsection, may be made the subject of any appeal in the manner provided or prescribed by law.

(d)  Estate in property condemned.--The estate in property condemned and taken by a public utility corporation shall be in fee simple absolute unless the resolution of condemnation specifies a lesser estate. Whenever it is necessary for any public utility corporation to condemn by authority of subsection (a) the freehold in the surface of any tract of property or the right to the exclusive possession for any indefinite period of the surface of any tract of property, the public utility corporation shall condemn a fee simple absolute and no less estate in the tract or the surface thereof.

(e)  Streets and other public places.--A public utility corporation shall have the right to enter upon and occupy streets, highways, waters and other public ways and places for one or more of the principal purposes specified in subsection (a) and ancillary purposes reasonably necessary or appropriate for the accomplishment of the principal purposes, including the placement, maintenance and removal of aerial, surface and subsurface public utility facilities thereon or therein. Before entering upon any street, highway or other public way, the public utility corporation shall obtain such permits as may be required by law and shall comply with the lawful and reasonable regulations of the governmental authority having responsibility for the maintenance thereof.

(f)  Effect on other statutes.--Subsections (a) through (e) shall not be construed to eliminate the exemption by statute of certain agricultural or historical lands from liability to condemnation or entry nor to affect or modify any of the provisions of the act of December 19, 1984 (P.L.1140, No.223), known as the Oil and Gas Act, or of 66 Pa.C.S. § 1104 (relating to certain appropriations by the right of eminent domain prohibited) or 2702 (relating to construction, relocation, suspension and abolition of crossings), nor to permit the acquisition of water rights, water or land underlying them by any public utility corporation that has not received from the Department of Environmental Resources a limited power permit, limited water supply permit, order of confirmation, permit for acquisition of water rights or gubernatorial easement, right-of-way, license or lease authorizing the acquisition or occupancy.

(g)  Procedure.--

(1)  The act of June 22, 1964 (Sp.Sess., P.L.84, No.6), known as the Eminent Domain Code, shall be applicable to proceedings for the condemnation and taking of property conducted pursuant to this section.

(2)  Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a corporation having the power of eminent domain that condemns for occupation by electric, underground telephone or telegraph, gas, oil or petroleum products lines used directly or indirectly in furnishing service to the public an interest (other than a fee) for right-of-way purposes or an easement for such purposes may elect to proceed as follows in lieu of the procedures specified in sections 402, 403, 405 and 406 of the Eminent Domain Code:

(i)  If the corporation and any interested party cannot agree on the amount of damages sustained, or if any interested party is an unincorporated association, or is absent, unknown, not of full age or otherwise incompetent or unavailable to contract with the corporation, or in the case of disputed, doubtful or defective title, the corporation may make a verified application to the appropriate court for an order directing the filing of a bond to the Commonwealth, in an amount and with security to be approved by the court, for the use of the person or persons who may be found to be entitled to the damages sustained. The application shall be accompanied by the bond and a certified copy of the resolution of condemnation. The resolution shall describe the nature and extent of the taking.

(ii)  If the address of such interested party is known to the corporation, written notice of the filing of the application under subparagraph (i) shall be sent to such party by mail, or otherwise, at least ten days prior to the consideration thereof by the court. Otherwise the corporation shall officially publish such notice in the county or counties where the property is situated twice a week for two weeks prior to consideration by the court and shall give such supplemental or alternative notice as the court may direct.

(iii)  Upon entry by the court of an order approving the bond and directing that it be filed, the title that the corporation acquires in the right-of-way or easement described in the resolution of condemnation shall pass to the corporation and the corporation shall be entitled to possession.

(iv)  The papers filed by the corporation with the court under this paragraph shall constitute the declaration of taking for the purposes of sections 404, 408 and 409 and Articles V through VIII of the Eminent Domain Code.

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Saved from Repeal.  Subsec. (g)(2) is saved from repeal by section 5(4) of the act of May 4, 2006, P.L.112, No.34, which put into effect the provisions of Title 26 (Eminent Domain).

References in Text.  The Department of Environmental Resources, referred to in subsec. (f), was abolished by Act 18 of 1995. Its functions were transferred to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Cross References.  Section 1511 is referred to in section 8102 of this title.