Engrossed Senate Bill (H)

DIGEST

Utility easements. Establishes a framework for resolving disputes between electricity suppliers and property owners regarding the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure within an electric easement. Provides that the procedures apply only to the following: (1) An electricity supplier that is a rural electric membership corporation. (2) A communications service provider, exclusively with respect to a telecommunications easement held by the communications service provider. Specifies that the bill's provisions do not provide the exclusive remedy to a property owner if the terms of: (1) the electric easement; or (2) any contractual or other agreement between the property owner and the Utility easements. Establishes a framework for resolving disputes between electricity suppliers and property owners regarding the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure within an electric easement. Provides that the procedures apply only to the following: (1) An electricity supplier that is a rural electric membership corporation. (2) A communications service provider, exclusively with respect to a telecommunications easement held by the communications service provider. Specifies that the bill's provisions do not provide the exclusive remedy to a property owner if the terms of: (1) the electric easement; or (2) any contractual or other agreement between the property owner and the electricity supplier; provide otherwise. Requires an electricity supplier that: (1) installs new communications infrastructure; or (2) makes capacity available for communications service through existing communications infrastructure; within an electric easement to provide written notice to the owner of the affected property. Sets forth the required contents of, and methods of delivery for, the notice. Requires an electricity supplier to include provisions in a communications service member agreement, customer agreement, or other similar agreement to notify property owners who subscribe to communications service from the electricity supplier that by signing the agreement, the property owner consents to the expansion of the electric easement to include the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure. Provides that a property owner may bring a cause of action against an electricity supplier for damages for interference with the use of the property owner's property caused by the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure, not later than two years from the later of: (1) July 1, 2017; or (2) the date upon which the required notice is delivered to the property owner. Provides that to prove damages for the interference with the use of the property owner's property, the property owner shall provide the electricity supplier with an appraisal comparing the value of the property before and after the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure within the easement. Provides that an appraisal obtained by a property owner to prove damages relating to the interference with the use of the property owner's property caused by the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure must take into account any increase in value to the property resulting from the availability of broadband internet service provided through the communications infrastructure. Provides that the acceptance by a property owner of an electricity supplier's payment for damages operates to modify the electric easement to allow for the installation, servicing, maintenance, and use of communications infrastructure within the easement. Provides that a telecommunications easement granted to permit a communications service provider or its predecessor to construct or place any poles, wires, cables, conduit, or other communications service infrastructure must permit the placement of any type of communications service infrastructure or facilities. Provides that when installing, inspecting, or maintaining communications infrastructure within an electric easement involving land: (1) owned by a railroad company; or (2) on which a manufacturing facility is located; an electricity supplier shall make a reasonable, good faith effort to notify the property owner of the installation, inspection, or maintenance. Provides that the bill's provisions do not change or impact: (1) requirements with which an electricity supplier must comply under federal or state law; or (2) an electricity supplier's duties under any reasonable safety and protective requirements imposed by a railroad company; when installing or maintaining communications infrastructure on or within privately owned railroad property or private railroad easements. ... View more