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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2749         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2944

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Jonathan Hecht

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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 double poles.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Jason Lewis

 

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Timothy R. Madden

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

John J. Lawn, Jr.

10th Middlesex

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2749        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2944

By Mr. Hecht of Watertown, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2944) of Jonathan Hecht and others for legislation to establish a double pole advisory council to recommend rules and regulations to reduce the use of double utility poles.  Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act relative to double 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. Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the department of public utilities and the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly issue a report relative to double poles within the Commonwealth.  The report shall provide an assessment of progress made in reducing the number of double poles in the commonwealth since the report issued pursuant to Section 110 of Chapter 46 of the Acts of 2003.  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.

              Section 2. Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the chair of the department of public utilities and the commissioner of the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly appoint a double pole remediation advisory council which shall consist of 11 members, including 2 persons representing municipalities, chosen from a list compiled by the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and 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.  The chair of the department of public utilities and the commissioner of the department of telecommunications and cable or their respective designees shall serve as co-chairs of the council.  The council shall meet within 90 days following the passage of this act and at such times thereafter as deemed necessary by the co-chairs.

              Section 3. Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the double pole remediation advisory 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.

              The report shall include, but not be limited to, analysis of the following possible measures to improve and accelerate the removal of double poles in the commonwealth:

              (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 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 escalating fines on poles owners or pole attachees based on the length of delay in removing a double pole.

              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.

              Section 4. Within one year of the effective date of this act, the department of public utilities and the department of telecommunications and cable shall jointly promulgate rules and regulations relative to reducing the number of double poles in the commonwealth pursuant to section 34B of chapter 164 of the General Laws.  The departments shall consider the recommendations of the double pole remediation advisory council in promulgating such rules and regulations, provided however that if the council fails to make recommendations within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the department of public utilities and department of telecommunications and cable shall promulgate rules and regulations without the recommendations of the council.

              Such rules and regulations may include fines or other penalties on pole owners or pole attachees for their failure to remove double poles.  Municipalities may enforce, by the enactment of a local ordinance or bylaw, any uniform, statewide fine structure in accordance with such rules and regulations.

              Section 5. No later than July 1st of each year after the effective date of this act, 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 and recommending legislation or other measures to improve enforcement of section 34B of Chapter 164 of the General Laws or otherwise reduce the number of double poles in the Commonwealth.  This section shall not apply in the year in which said departments issue their report pursuant to Section 1 of this act.

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