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Broadband Deployment Law Advisor Insight and Commentary on the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure

Florida Storm Hardening Plans Update: Attachers Enter Stipulations

Posted in Pole Attachments, State Activities

As an update to our September 20, 2013 post titled Florida Storm Hardening Plans Up for Approval, on November 14, 2013 the Florida Public Service Commission (“Florida PSC”) approved the three-year storm hardening plans of the state’s five investor-owned electric companies:  Duke Energy Florida, Gulf Power, Florida Public Utility Company, Florida Light & Power and Tampa Electric Company.

The Florida PSC requires the state’s electric companies to file storm hardening plans every three years.  The plans must contain a detailed description of each utility’s construction standards, policies and procedures in order “to enhance the reliability of overhead and underground electrical transmission and distribution facilities.”  Because the storm hardening plans implicate third party communications attachments, cable and telecommunications attachers typically intervene upon the filing of the plans to ensure that the plans do not conflict with attachers’ pole attachment rights under federal law.

This year, as in prior years, Florida’s cable companies entered into “stipulations” with the five utilities to ensure that their federal pole attachment rights are protected, despite approval of those aspects of  the plans addressing requirements imposed upon utilities to harden their infrastructure (e.g., poles) that arguably might otherwise impact those rights.