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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XXVII
RAILROADS AND OTHER REGULATED UTILITIES
Chapter 366
PUBLIC UTILITIES
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F.S. 366.97
366.97 Redundant poles; transfer of ownership.
(1) Pole owners shall provide at least 180 calendar days’ electronic or written advance notice to affected attaching entities of major hardening projects the purpose of which is to replace poles to ensure the poles meet extreme wind loading requirements. The advance hardening project notice must include:
(a) The scope of the major hardening project, to the extent determined; the locations of the affected poles; the expected start date; and the expected completion date of the major hardening project; and
(b) The date, time, and location of a field meeting for the pole owner and attaching entities to review and discuss the planned major hardening project details, including the types of replacement poles to be used. The field meeting must occur no sooner than 15 calendar days after the date of the notice and no later than 60 calendar days after the notice and, at a minimum, must include sufficient information to enable the attaching entity to locate the affected poles and identify the owner of any facilities attached to the poles.
(2)(a) An attaching entity must remove its pole attachments from a redundant pole within 180 calendar days after receipt of an electronic or a written notice from the pole owner requesting such removal. A pole owner may use a joint use notification software program to accomplish such written or electronic removal notice.
(b) If an attaching entity fails to remove a pole attachment pursuant to paragraph (a), except to the extent excused by an event of force majeure or other good cause as agreed to by the parties or as determined by the commission or its designee within 30 calendar days after the 180 calendar-day period under paragraph (a), the pole owner or its agent may transfer or relocate the pole attachment to the new pole at the noncompliant attaching entity’s expense. This subsection does not apply to an electric utility’s pole attachments. An attaching entity shall submit payment to the pole owner within 60 days after receipt of the pole owner’s invoice for transfer or relocation of the pole attachments. A pole owner may seek to enforce its right to payment under this paragraph in circuit court and, if it prevails, is entitled to prejudgment interest at the prevailing statutory rate and reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Upon receipt by the pole owner of written notice, the attaching entity that fails to comply with this subsection shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the pole owner and its directors, officers, agents, and employees from and against all liability, except to the extent of any finding of negligence or willful misconduct, including attorney fees and litigation costs, arising in connection with the transfer of the pole attachment from a redundant pole to a new pole by the pole owner.
(c) If a pole attachment is abandoned by an attaching entity that fails to remove or transfer its attachments in accordance with this section, the pole owner or its agent may remove the pole attachment at the noncompliant attaching entity’s expense and may sell or dispose of the pole attachment, except to the extent the attaching entity’s noncompliance is excused by an event of force majeure or other good cause as determined by the commission. An attaching entity shall submit payment to the pole owner within 60 days after receipt of the pole owner’s invoice. A pole owner may seek to enforce its right to payment under this paragraph in circuit court and, if it prevails, is entitled to prejudgment interest at the prevailing statutory rate and reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Upon receipt by the pole owner of written notice, the noncompliant attaching entity shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the pole owner and its directors, officers, agents, and employees from and against all liability, except to the extent of any finding of negligence or willful misconduct, including attorney fees and litigation costs, arising in connection with the removal, transfer, sale, or disposal of the pole attachments from a redundant pole by the pole owner.
(3) Upon petition by a pole owner or an attaching entity, the commission may issue orders enforcing this section which do not expressly relate to circuit court jurisdiction.
(4) This section may not be construed to do any of the following:
(a) Prevent a party at any time from entering into a voluntary agreement authorizing a pole owner to remove an attaching entity’s pole attachment. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage parties to enter into such voluntary agreements without commission approval.
(b) Impair the contract rights of a party to a valid pole attachment agreement in existence before June 29, 2021.
History.ss. 4, 5, ch. 2021-191.