FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Lawmakers are considering a proposal by State Rep. John Shaban (R-135), that would require utility companies to repair or replace utility poles, regardless of ownership, during a declared emergency.
Shaban told the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee recently that his bill -- H.B. 5467, An Act Concerning Emergency Repair of Utility Poles – would create a simple and uniform system of repairing utility poles downed during major storms and thereby prevent prolonged power outages.
In Connecticut, most utility poles are owned, either individually or jointly, by electric transmission companies and/or telecommunication companies.
“During the recent major storms,” Shaban said, “ground crews spent too much time trying to get to ‘their’ poles first, often having to circumnavigate downed trees and power lines, rather than fixing a broken pole right in front of them. This erratic approach prolonged recovery and eroded the public’s confidence.” Shaban argued that his bill “would speed recovery by requiring, during a declared emergency, the first company on scene who has the ability to repair a disabled utility pole to do so, and thereafter bill the pole’s owner at a preapproved rate.”
Shaban represents Redding, Weston and Easton.
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