New York Issues Monumental Pole Attachment Order
In a seminal Order issued and effective Aug. 6, 2004, the New York Public Service Commission comprehensively reformed the pole attachment and conduit occupancy processes that telephone and electric utility pole owners must follow to accommodate new and existing attachments by cable operators and competitive local exchange carriers. Attaching entities gained important rights in this monumental Order.
Among other things, the Order:
- Requires that aerial attachment and underground occupancy makeready processes meet defined timeframes, including a 45-day time limit to complete make-ready.
- Requires pole owners to permit attaching parties to use outside contractors where time limits cannot be met.
- Requires pole owners to share in the cost of “pole audits” they had previously billed entirely to attaching parties.
- Requires binding estimates for make-ready work.
- Requires pole and conduit owners to justify departures from NESC standards.
- Approves the use of boxing and extension arms, where such method of construction is deemed safe and already used by the pole owner.
- Approves temporary attachments, where safe and necessary to meet attachment timelines.
- Allows attachments to drop poles prior to licensing.
The Order represents the culmination of over a year of collaboration, negotiation and extensive pleadings among pole owners, unions, cable operators, and CLECs. In addition to the many gains made by attaching entities in the Order, the parties were able to reach agreement on numerous issues including the need for time frames, expedited dispute resolution, and improved billing records, during collaborative sessions, presided over by Commission Staff. For the numerous remaining issues where the parties were not in agreement, several rounds of pleadings were filed, and the Commission’s Order resolved the differences.
Please contact us if you would like a copy of the Order, or have any questions concerning its implications for pole attachments and conduit occupancy in New York, or elsewhere.