CHAPTER 110

NATURAL GAS FRANCHISE

110.01  Franchise Granted

110.08  City Held Harmless

110.02  State Code Restrictions

110.09  Sharing Information

110.03  Excavation Rights

110.10  Iowa Utilities Board Governance

110.04  Relocation of Services

110.11  Quality and Quantity of Natural Gas

110.05  Care of Public Property

110.12  Termination of Franchise

110.06  Vacating or Selling Land

110.13  Previous Agreements

110.07  Relocating Company Facilities/Reimbursement

 

 
110.01    FRANCHISE GRANTED.  There is hereby granted to MidAmerican Energy Company, an Iowa corporation, hereinafter called the “Company,” and to its successors and assigns, the right and franchise to acquire, construct, erect, maintain and operate in the City, a gas distribution system, to furnish natural gas along, under and upon the streets, avenues, alleys and public places to serve customers within and without the City, and to furnish and sell natural gas to the City and its inhabitants.  For the term of this franchise the Company is granted the right of eminent domain, the exercise of which is subject to City Council approval upon application by the Company.  This franchise shall be effective for a twenty (20) year period from and after the effective date of the ordinance codified by this chapter.

110.02    STATE CODE RESTRICTIONS.  The rights and privileges hereby granted are subject to the restrictions and limitations of Chapter 364 of the Code of Iowa, 2009, or as subsequently amended or changed.

110.03    EXCAVATION RIGHTS.  The Company shall have the right to excavate in any public street for the purpose of laying, re-laying, repairing or extending gas pipes, mains, conduits and other facilities provided that the same shall be so placed as not to unreasonably interfere with the construction of any water pipes, drain or sewer or the flow of water therefrom, which have been or may hereafter be located by authority of the City.

110.04    RELOCATION OF SERVICES.  The Company shall, excluding facilities located in private easements (whether titled in Company exclusively or in Company and other entities), in accordance with Iowa law including Company’s tariff on tile with and made effective by the Iowa Utilities Board as may subsequently be amended (“Tariff”), at its cost and expense, locate and relocate its existing facilities or equipment in, on, over or under any public street or alley in the City in such a manner as the City may reasonably require for the purposes of facilitating the construction, reconstruction, maintenance or repair of the street or alley.  If the City has a reasonable alternative route for the street, alley or public improvements or an alternative construction method, which would not cause the relocation of the Company installations, the City shall select said alternative route or construction method.  The City shall be responsible for surveying and staking the right-of-way for City projects that require the Company to relocate Company facilities.  If requested the City shall provide, at no cost to the Company, copies of its relocation plan and profile and cross-section drawings.  If tree removals must be completed by the City as part of the City’s project and are necessary whether or not utility facilities must be relocated, the City at its own cost shall be responsible for said removals.  If the timing of the tree removals does not coincide with the Company facilities relocation schedule and Company must remove trees that are included in the City’s portion of the project, the City shall either remove the trees at its cost or reimburse the Company for the expenses incurred to remove said trees.  If project funds from a source other than the City are available to pay for the relocation of utility facilities, the City shall attempt to secure said funds and provide them to the Company to compensate the Company for the costs of relocation.

110.05    CARE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY.  In making excavations in any streets, avenues, alleys and public places for the installation of gas pipes, conduits or apparatus, Company shall not unreasonably obstruct the use of the streets and shall replace the surface, restoring it to the condition as existed prior to excavation.  The Company shall not be required to restore or modify public right of way, sidewalks or other areas in or adjacent to the Company project to a condition superior to its immediate previously existing condition or to a condition required for the City to comply with City, State or Federal rules, regulations or laws.

110.06    VACATING OR SELLING LAND.  Vacating a street, avenue, alley, public ground or public right-of-way shall not deprive the Company of its right to operate and maintain existing facilities on, below, above, or beneath the vacated property.  Prior to abandoning or vacating any street, avenue, alley or public ground where the Company has natural gas facilities, the City shall grant the Company a utility easement for said facilities.  If the City fails to grant the Company a utility easement for said facilities prior to abandoning or vacating a street, avenue, alley or public ground, the City shall at its cost and expense obtain easements for existing Company facilities.

110.07    RELOCATING COMPANY FACILITIES/REIMBURSEMENT.  The Company shall not be required to relocate, at its cost and expense, Company facilities in the public right of way that have been relocated at Company expense at the direction of the City in the previous ten years. Pursuant to relocation of Company facilities as may be required by this franchise, if the City orders or requests the Company to relocate its existing facilities or equipment in order to facilitate the project of a commercial or private developer or non-public entity, the City shall reimburse or the City shall require the developer or non-public entity to reimburse the Company for the cost of such relocation as a precondition to relocation of its existing facilities or equipment.  The Company shall not be required to relocate in order to facilitate such private project at its expense.

110.08    CITY HELD HARMLESS.  The Company shall indemnify and save harmless the City from any and all claims, suits, losses, damages, costs or expenses, on account of injury or damage to any person or property, to the extent caused or occasioned by the Company’s negligence in construction, reconstruction, excavation, operation or maintenance of the natural gas facilities authorized by this franchise; provided, however, that the Company shall not be obligated to defend, indemnify and save harmless the City for any costs or damages arising from the negligence of the City, its officers, employees or agents.

110.09    SHARING INFORMATION.  Upon reasonable request the Company shall provide the City, on a project specific basis, information indicating the horizontal location, relative to boundaries of the right of way, of all equipment which it owns or over which it has control that is located in City right of way.  The Company and City recognize the information provided will, under current Iowa law, constitute public records, but that nonetheless, some information provided will be confidential under State or Federal law or both.  Therefore, the City shall not release any information with respect to the location or type of equipment which the Company owns or controls in the right of way which may constitute a trade secret or which may otherwise be protected from public disclosure by State or Federal law.  Furthermore, the City agrees that no documents, maps or information provided to the City by the Company shall be made available to the public or other entities if such documents or information are exempt from disclosure under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Critical Energy Infrastructure requirements pursuant to 18 CFR 388.112 and 388.113, and Chapter 22 of the Code of Iowa, as such statutes and regulations may be amended from time to time.

110.10    IOWA UTILITIES BOARD GOVERNANCE.  The Company shall construct, operate and maintain its facilities in accordance with the applicable regulations of the Iowa Utilities Board or its successors.

110.11    QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF NATURAL GAS.  During the term of this franchise, the Company shall furnish natural gas in the quantity and quality consistent and in accordance with the applicable regulations of the Iowa Utilities Board or its successors and Iowa law.

110.12    TERMINATION OF FRANCHISE.  Either City or Company ("party") may terminate this franchise if the other party shall be materially in breach of its provisions. Upon the occurrence of a material breach, the non-breaching party shall provide the breaching party with notification by certified mail specifying the alleged breach.  The breaching party shall have 60 days to cure the breach, unless it notifies the non-breaching party, and the parties agree upon a shorter or longer period for cure.  If the breach is not cured within the cure period, the non-breaching party may terminate this franchise.  A party shall not be considered to be in breach of this franchise if it has operated in compliance with State or Federal law.  A party shall not be considered to have breached this franchise if the alleged breach is the result of the actions of a third party or the other party. 

110.13    PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS.  Upon the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, all prior natural gas franchises granted to the Company to furnish natural gas to the City and its inhabitants are hereby repealed and all other ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are also hereby repealed.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  Ordinance No. 281, adopting a natural gas franchise for the City, was passed and adopted on December 9, 2010, and published on December 10, 2010.