October 5, 2022

Volume XII, Number 278


October 04, 2022

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October 03, 2022

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Georgia PSC Pole Attachment Ruling to Promote Broadband

The electric cooperatives in Georgia (Georgia EMCs) Tuesday received an outstanding pole attachment ruling from the Georgia Public Service Commission, protecting Georgia EMCs and their more than four million member-owners, but also providing hope for more fair pole attachment regulation elsewhere in the country.

With the first and only ruling of its kind in the nation, the Georgia Commission adopted a six-year, $1/pole rate for any new attachments to EMC poles located in portions of Georgia not yet served by broadband. The Commission also adopted a $27.71 rate statewide for all existing cable company attachments to EMC poles. The PSC’s decision ordering one rate for existing attachments and a discount for unserved areas is designed to promote broadband in unserved areas while avoiding unjustified subsidies in areas already served. The $27.71 statewide rate in already-served areas allocates 26.94% of annual pole costs to cable company attachers, which is about 3.5 times the unjustified 7.4% FCC Cable Rate percentage the cable industry demanded.

Equally significant, the Georgia Commission largely adopted the terms and conditions proposed by the Georgia EMCs. These favorable and fair provisions include:

  1. An “Imposition Fee” of 25% on top of actual costs when the EMC must perform work the attaching entity was supposed to do;

  2. EMCs can reclaim reserved pole space for any reason;

  3. Solutions were implemented for double-wood and failures to transfer;

  4. Joint participation required for inventories and safety inspections;

  5. Unauthorized attachment penalty of $100 plus back rent;

  6. Detailed information may be required for attachment applications;

  7. Permit required for overlashing and EMC to get reimbursed for engineering required for overlashing; and

  8. A dispute resolution process was implemented

With this forward-thinking ruling by the Georgia PSC, the electric cooperatives in Georgia stand eager and ready to partner to deploy broadband in unserved areas and are committed to investing in economic growth and prosperity in their own backyards.

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 353

About this Author

Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer

Thomas Magee joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. Mr. Magee provides regulatory, transactional and litigation counsel to investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities regarding pole attachments and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing of private wireless telecommunications services.

Mr. Magee has helped to resolve dozens of pole attachment disputes affecting make-ready costs, safety violations, unauthorized attachments, annual rental rates and other terms and conditions of access. He negotiates,...