Enrolled Senate Bill (S)

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 an electricity supplier that is a rural electric membership corporation. Provides specified exemptions from the procedures. Specifies that the bill's provisions provide the exclusive remedy to a property owner with respect to the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure on above ground electric facilities within an electric easement. Specifies that the bill's provisions do not provide the exclusive remedy to a property owner if the terms of: 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 an electricity supplier that is a rural electric membership corporation. Provides specified exemptions from the procedures. Specifies that the bill's provisions provide the exclusive remedy to a property owner with respect to the attachment or installation of communications infrastructure on above ground electric facilities within an electric easement. 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 by first class mail to the owner of the affected property. Sets forth the required contents of the notice, including a written plan for making broadband Internet service available within the electricity supplier's electric service territory. Specifies that the failure of an electricity supplier to take any action described in, or related to, the plan does not create any liability with respect to the electricity supplier. 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 a decrease in value of the property owner's real 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 decrease in value of the property owner's real 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 decrease in the value of the property owner's real 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 when installing, inspecting, or maintaining communications infrastructure within an electric easement involving land on which a manufacturing facility is located, an electricity supplier shall make a reasonable, good faith effort to notify the property owner. Requires an electricity supplier to comply with all applicable rules and standards included in the National Electric Safety Code most recently adopted by the state. Requires an electricity supplier that uses the procedures set forth in the bill to: (1) form a separate legal entity; or (2) maintain a separate accounting system; with respect to the provision of broadband Internet service made available by the electricity supplier, alone or with one or more other legal entities, within all or part of the electricity supplier's electric service territory. Provides that the entity providing broadband Internet service shall cause to be performed an annual audit of the entity's financial records concerning only the provision of broadband Internet service by the entity. Urges the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications the topic of rental rates and other fees for the attachment of communications service facilities on utility poles owned or controlled by electricity suppliers. ... View more