Introduced by Representatives Masland of Thetford, Klein of East Montpelier, Maier of Middlebury and McCullough of Williston
Subject: Public service; street lighting; municipalities
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to allow municipalities to acquire street lights from local public utility companies.
AN ACT RELATING TO MUNICIPAL ACQUISITION OF STREET LIGHTS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 30 V.S.A. chapter 80 is added to read:
Chapter 80. Municipal Acquisition of Street Lights
§ 2951. MUNICIPAL ACQUISITION OF STREET LIGHTS
(a) Any municipality receiving street lighting services from an electric company, pursuant to a tax which provides for the use by that municipality of lighting equipment owned by the electric company, such as luminaries, lamps, brackets, and other equipment necessary for the conversion of electric energy into street lighting service, shall have the rights with respect to lighting equipment as set forth in this section. These rights shall apply in the event that the municipality does not establish a municipal plant in accordance with chapter 79 of this title. These rights shall apply in the event that a municipal plant is established but ownership and control of the distribution facilities needed to deliver electric energy to the lighting equipment is held and retained by the electric company servicing the municipality prior to the establishment of the municipal plant.
(b) A municipality subject to the provisions of this section upon 60-day notice to the public service board may:
(1) purchase electric energy for use in lighting equipment owned or leased by the municipality from the electric company or any other person allowed by law to provide electric energy;
(2) use the space on any pole, lamppost, or other mounting surface previously used by the electric company for the mounting of the lighting equipment of the electric company;
(3) acquire any, or all, of the lighting equipment of the electric company in the municipality in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.
(c) Any municipality exercising the option to convert its street lighting service pursuant to this section shall be required to compensate the electric company an amount equal to its unamortized investment, minus any salvage value obtained by the electric company under the circumstances, in the lighting equipment owned by the electric company in the municipality as of the date the electric company receives notice of an exercise pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. In meeting this requirement, the municipality has the authority to acquire all or any part of lighting equipment of the electric company upon payment of the unamortized investment assignable to that equipment. Upon payment, the municipality shall have the right to use, alter, remove, or replace the equipment in any way the municipality deems appropriate. The electric company, or any owner of any pole, lamppost, or other mounting surface previously used by the electric company for the mounting of the lighting equipment may not charge the municipality an attachment or detachment fee for the placement or removal of that equipment on any mounting surfaces previously used.
(d) A municipality may request that the electric company remove any unacquired part of the lighting equipment. The municipality shall pay the electric company for the cost of removal by the electric company along with an amount equal to its unamortized investment, minus any salvage value attributable to the removed equipment.
(e) The electric company may not require that:
(1) Maintenance of the lighting equipment acquired pursuant to this section meet any standard of qualification that exceeds that of state law or state regulation;
(2) Lighting equipment meet any code or standard that exceeds that of state law or regulation;
(3) Any greater liability protection from the community, including but not limited to hazard insurance, than the electric company itself provides to the community.
(f) A person other than the electric company controlling the right to use space on a pole, lamppost, or other mounting service previously used by the electric company in that municipality shall allow the municipality to assume the right and obligations of the electric company with respect to such space for the unexpired term of any lease or other agreement under which the electric company used the space. However, in the assumption of the rights and obligations of the electric company by that municipality, the municipality shall in no way or form restrict, impede, or prohibit universal access for the provision of electric and other services.
(g) A dispute concerning the compensation to be paid to the electric company or any other matter arising in connection with the dispute, including the terms on which space is to be provided to the municipality in accordance with subsection (f) of this section, shall be resolved by the board within 60 days of any request for a resolution brought by the municipality or any person involved in the dispute.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, an affiliate of any electric company whose street lighting service is acquired by a municipality in accordance with the provisions of this section may solicit and compete for the business of those municipalities to provide lighting equipment or any other service normally provided by an electric company.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street