Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 15. Telegraph and Telephone Companies
5/14/2021

§ 56-466.2. Undergrounding existing overhead distribution lines; relocation of facilities of cable operator.

When an investor-owned incumbent electric utility proposes to improve electric service reliability pursuant to clause (iv) of subdivision A 6 of § 56-585.1 by installing new underground facilities to replace the utility's existing overhead distribution tap lines, if the utility owns the poles from which the existing overhead distribution tap lines are to be relocated and any cable operator of a cable television system, as those terms are defined in § 15.2-2108.19, has also attached its facilities to such poles, the utility shall provide written notice to the cable operator of the utility's intention to relocate the overhead distribution tap lines not less than 90 days prior to relocating the utility's overhead distribution lines. The cable operator shall notify the utility within 45 days of the notice of relocation whether the cable operator will relocate its facilities underground or request to remain overhead in accordance with the provisions set forth herein. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, in such notice the cable operator may request that the utility use commercially reasonable efforts to negotiate a common shared underground easement for the facilities to be located underground of the utility and the cable operator. The cable operator shall be responsible to negotiate any additional easements that it may require. If the cable operator elects to relocate its facilities underground, the cable operator may participate with the utility in a joint relocation of the overhead lines to underground or may engage its own contractors to undertake its relocation work if it deems it appropriate to do so. The utility shall not abandon or remove the poles that the utility owns until the cable operator completes the relocation or removal of its facilities or 90 days after the completion of the relocation of the utility overhead distribution lines, whichever first occurs. If the cable operator does not elect to relocate its facilities underground and requests to maintain its facilities overhead, the utility may either (i) convey such poles "as-is" and "where-is" to the cable operator at its depreciated cost less the estimated cost of removal, provided that the cable operator may legally retain the poles that the utility intends to abandon and assumes all liability for the poles conveyed or (ii) retain ownership of its poles and allow the cable operator's existing overhead facilities to remain attached, in which case the utility shall maintain the pole in accordance with prudent utility standards, provided that the cable operator shall continue to pay its pole attachment fees and otherwise comply with its contractual obligations pursuant to the applicable pole attachment agreement. In all cases, the cable operator shall be responsible for all costs related to the relocation or maintenance of its facilities.

In instances in which an investor-owned incumbent electric utility continues to own and maintain its utility poles after the overhead distribution lines of the utility formerly on such poles have been placed underground pursuant to the foregoing provisions, then for purposes of any agreement or ordinance with respect to a cable franchise under § 15.2-2108.20 or 15.2-2108.21, the utility shall not be deemed to have converted to underground.

2017, c. 583; 2018, c. 296.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.