Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Utility Pole Attachment Fees Draw FCC Action

 The FCC determined that an electric utility in Maryland made Verizon pay unreasonable charges for attaching to their utility poles. The agency spelled out the maximum rate the utility company could charge the telecom.

Verizon Maryland filed a complaint with the Commission last fall, alleging the Potomac Edison Company was overcharging the telecom for utility pole access. Both companies have a Joint Use Agreement (JUA) that contains the rates, terms, and conditions for each party’s use of the other’s utility poles. Verizon complained the rates it was charged by Potomac Edison are “significantly higher” than the rates that Potomac Edison charges competitive local exchange carriers (LECs) and cable providers to attach to the same poles. Though the financial figures in the FCC’s decision were redacted, it shows Verizon pays more than its competitors.

Verizon contends that Potomac Edison used its “four-to-one pole ownership advantage” to charge Verizon rates that are more than the New Telecom Rate. It asked the agency to find the rates its being charged are “unjust and unreasonable,” require the utility to charge the telecom the New Telecom Rate prospectively and order Potomac Edison to give the telecom a refund of overages. Continue Reading

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