On August 13, 2019, the Vermont Public Utility Commission (“Commission”) submitted paperwork to the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules to initiate a rulemaking to revise Commission Rule 3.700, the Pole Attachment Rule.
Act 79 of 2019 was enacted into law on June 20, 2019. Sections 19 and 20 of the Act direct the Commission to revise Commission Rule 3.700 to include “one-touch make-ready” (“OTMR”) and self-help procedures for pole attachments in the communications space and to consider other measures designed to reduce delays associated with the pole-preparation process. OTMR and self-help allow attaching entities to do simple utility pole preparation work using qualified contractors and to take over the pole-preparation process for some complex pole preparation work from the pole owner, if certain deadlines are not met. The provisions are similar to recent revisions to the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) rules on pole attachments, which apply in states that have elected not to regulate pole attachments. Section 19 of the Act requires the Commission to file a final proposed rule with the Secretary of State and the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules on or before December 1, 2019.
The proposed amendments to the rule are the result of proceedings in Case No. 19-0252-RULE, which was a petition for a rulemaking to amend Commission Rule 3.700.
After the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules completes its review, the proposed rule will be filed with the Vermont Secretary of State. At that time, a formal notice of the rule will be published, a public comment period will be established, and at least one public hearing scheduled. The Commission will provide more information about this rulemaking once it is available.
The draft rule, the order requesting comments on the rule, all participant comments, the full filing submitted to the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, and documents from Case No. 19-0252-RULE are available through ePUC, the Commission’s electronic document management and filing system. Information about using ePUC is available on the PUC website.