SB 653 Modifies provisions relating to municipal utility poles
Sponsor: Lager
LR Number: 5011H.10T Fiscal Note available
Committee: Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment
Last Action: 3/20/2014 - Signed by Governor Journal Page: S583
Title: HCS SS SCS SB 653 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2014
House Handler: Funderburk

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Current Bill Summary

HCS/SS/SCS/SB 653 - This act modifies provision relating to municipal utility poles. This act technically corrects a paragraph cross-reference and technically corrects "permit" to "permits".

Currently, pole attachment means an attachment by a video service provider, a telecommunications or other communications-related service provider to a pole owned by a municipal utility, but not an attachment by a wireless communications provider to a pole. This act modifies the definition of pole attachment to include an attachment by any attaching entity to any pole owned by a municipality. This act defines a pole as a utility pole which is owned or controlled by a municipal utility or municipality. This act allows a municipal utility or municipality to deny access to the utility's poles only if there is insufficient capacity, or safety and reliability concerns that the attaching entity cannot resolve. Nothing shall be construed to prohibit a municipal utility or municipality from requiring an attaching entity to enter into a pole attachment agreement.

Currently, any party can seek review of any fee, term, or condition by binding arbitration. This act repeals this provision and instead allows for dispute resolution by allowing either party to bring an action for expedited review in any court of competent jurisdiction. During the pendency of the dispute, the attaching entity may proceed with its attachments at a rental rate mutually agreed upon by the parties, or as calculated in accordance with the cable service rate formula. A municipal pole owner may be authorized to exceed the rate of return cost components of the cable service rate formula under certain circumstances. The attaching entity is required to comply with applicable and reasonable engineering and safety standards, and shall not hold liable the municipality for damages caused by the attaching entity. This act extends these provisions to not supersede existing pole attachment agreements established prior to August 28, 2013, to August 28, 2014. This act shall not confer any authority to the Public Service Commission or any other governmental entity to regulate pole attachments.

This act allows a municipal utility or municipality to, after written notice, revoke a pole attachment permit with or without fee refund for the substantial breach of a pole attachment agreement or permit, until the breach is cured. A substantial breach is specified as set forth in this act. This act requires municipal utilities or municipalities to request the attaching entity to rearrange, relocate, or remove a pole attachment in the event of an imminent threat to public health, life, or safety, or absent action from the entity, have the authority to perform these actions.