Bill to Create Fairness, Accountability and Efficiency in Undergrounding Infrastructure is Signed into Law
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 1145, by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) to create parity in how utility and communication companies are reimbursed for the forced undergrounding of above ground and subsurface infrastructure, has been signed into law.
Undergrounding is the process of replacing overhead lines that provide services such as electricity or communications with lines underground. More and more cities and their residents are choosing to pursue the undergrounding of overhead facilities, typically for aesthetic or safety purposes in order to remove the visible overhead lines and poles or to reduce the risk of damage or fire from being exposed to the elements.
Moving overhead infrastructure underground is expensive. Under current law, cities, counties and other municipal governments are required to develop a financing plan when forcing electrical or communication companies to move their infrastructure. The same does not apply for cable infrastructure.
AB 1145 creates parity for all utility service providers.
“The cable industry appreciates the efforts of the Legislature and the Governor to approve a common sense measure that will encourage the state, local governments, and cable operators to work together to mitigate costs to relocate telecommunications facilitates for government projects. Dollars saved through AB 1145 are dollars that can be redirected to support broadband deployment and the digital economy,” said Carolyn McIntyre, President of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association.
“To meet the state’s growing housing and transportation infrastructure demands, utilities and cable operators are continually asked to relocate their above-ground and subsurface infrastructure to accommodate government-related infrastructure projects. The signing of AB 1145 will create an even playing field and ensure that the financial responsibility, for all forced relocation costs, is equally shared among all individuals living in a community where the capital improvement project is to be completed,” explained Assemblymember Quirk upon learning his bill had been signed into law.
AB 1145 goes into effect January 1, 2018.