Skip to Content


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1243         FILED ON: 1/16/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2956

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Marc T. Lombardo

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to utility poles.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Marc T. Lombardo

22nd Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1243        FILED ON: 1/16/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2956

By Mr. Lombardo of Billerica, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2956) of Marc T. Lombardo for legislation to reduce the number of double poles used by utility companies.  Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 4177 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to utility poles.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              Section 1.  Section 25A of Chapter 166 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:-

              The following terms as used Sections 25A and 25B shall have the following meanings:

              Section 2. Said Section 25A of chapter 166, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of ‘attachment’ the following definition:-

              “Double Pole”, means a double utility pole, which exists when a new pole is installed next to an already existing pole in order to support the existing pole, and allow for the transfer of wires and attachments from the existing pole.

              Section 3.  Said Section 25A of chapter 166, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of ‘utility’ the following definitions:-

              “Pole Lifecycle Management System”, means a web-based database accessible by the department, municipal officials, licensees, and utilities, containing information about double poles, and where each licensee and utility is notified electronically, in turn, when it is time to transfer an attachment according to a previously established prioritization.

              “PLM”, means Pole Lifecycle Management

              Section 4.  Chapter 166 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 25A, the following section:-

              Section 25B.  (a) Utilities shall be jointly responsible for the establishment, operation and accuracy of a single statewide Pole Lifecycle Management System.  Funding requirements for the database shall be allocated to all pole owning utilities subject to joint approval by the department of telecommunications and cable and the department of public utilities.

              (b) All utilities and licensees with pole attachments shall participate in and have access to the PLM System.  Utility pole owners and municipal officials may file a complaint with the department of telecommunications and cable regarding licensees and utility pole owners that fail to use the database, with the department of public utilities retaining the right to intervene. 

              (c) The department of telecommunications and cable and the department of public utilities shall promulgate rules and regulations consistent with this section.

              Section 5. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, within 1 year of the effective date of this act, the department of public utilities and the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly hold a public hearing and promulgate rules and regulations relative to reducing the number of double poles in the commonwealth pursuant to section 34B of chapter 164 and section 25B of chapter 166 of the General Laws. The departments shall consider the recommendations of the double pole remediation advisory council in promulgating rules and regulations.

              (b) The departments may, in consultation with the double pole remediation advisory council, promulgate rules and regulations that allow for the commonwealth or municipalities to impose fines or other penalties on pole owners or pole attachees for the failure to remove double poles in a reasonable timeframe. Municipalities may enforce, by the enactment of a local ordinance or bylaw, any uniform, statewide fine structure in accordance with such rules and regulations developed by the departments.

              (c) The department of public utilities and the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly issue a report relative to double poles within the Commonwealth within 90 days following the passage of this act. The report shall provide an assessment of progress made in reducing the number of double poles in the commonwealth since the issuance of the report previously issued pursuant to Section 110 of Chapter 46 of the Acts of 2003 relative to reducing the number of double utility poles within the commonwealth.  Such assessment shall include data, by municipality, on the removal of double poles installed before January 31, 2004, the removal of double poles installed after January 31, 2004, and double poles remaining to be removed.  With respect to each double pole remaining to be removed, the data shall include the date of its installation and the pole owner.

              (d) The Governor shall convene a double pole remediation advisory council which shall consist of 11 members, including 1 person representing each of the following (1) telephone company pole owners, (2) electric distribution company pole owners, (3) municipal light plants, (4) CATV Operator pole attachees, (5), the attorney general, (6) organized telephone pole workers, (7) organized electricity distribution pole workers, (8) the department of public utilities, and (9) the department of telecommunications and cable.  2 persons representing municipalities, chosen from a list compiled by the Massachusetts Municipal Association,  shall be members of the council.  The chair of the department of public utilities and the commissioner of the department of telecommunications and cable shall serve as co-chairs of the council.

              (e) The council shall meet within 90 days following the passage of this act.

              (f) The council shall analyze possible measures to improve and accelerate the removal of double poles in the commonwealth.  Such analysis shall include, but not be limited to, the following measures:

              (1) measures to ensure the comprehensiveness, accuracy, and timeliness of the information contained in the Pole Lifecycle Management (“PLM”) system

              (2) measures to ensure access to the information contained in the PLM system by all pole users, including municipalities

              (3) requiring pole owners to provide semi-annual reports to each municipality listing all double poles in their municipality, their location and/or pole number, the date of installation, and the pole user currently identified by the PLM system as “first in line” to remove its wires and other equipment

              (4) mandating meetings of pole owners and municipalities, to take place in and at the initiative of the municipalities, to discuss the status, scheduling, and prioritization of double pole removals

              (5) securing an enforceable commitment from pole owners to remove by January 1, 2014 their existing backlog of double poles and to devote adequate personnel and resources to ensure that all new double poles are removed no more than one year after installation

              (6) authorizing the commonwealth or municipalities to impose fines on pole owners that do not respond within 30 days to a formal demand by a municipality to remove a double pole installed for more than 180 days

              (7) authorizing the commonwealth or municipalities to impose fines on pole owners that do not respond within 30 days to a formal demand by a municipality to move a pole to meet a construction schedule on a public way

              (8) authorizing the commonwealth or municipalities to impose escalating fines on poles owners or pole attachees based on the length of delay on removing a double pole

              (g) The council shall report to the department of telecommunications and cable, the department of public utilities, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government their recommendations to reduce the number of double poles in the commonwealth, including proposed legislation to enforce section 34B of Chapter 164 of the General Laws and any other legislation or regulatory measures, by December 31, 2012.

              (h) The double pole remediation advisory council may utilize the resources and staff of the department of public utilities, the department of telecommunications and cable and other relevant agencies of state government.

              (i) The council must approve their recommendations with a 2/3 majority vote.  If approval is not granted by December 31, 2012, the department of public utilities and department of telecommunications and cable shall promulgate the rules and regulations consistent with this Act without the recommendations of the council. 

              (j) No later than July 1st of each year, beginning July 1, 2013, the department of public utilities and the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly submit an annual report to the legislature describing the status of double pole remediation.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Error