ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Public Service Commission Thursday adopted joint settlements that resolve penalty amounts for alleged violations against RG&E and Frontier regarding their alleged failures to comply with terms and conditions of the PSC’s utility pole attachment rules, state officials announced Thursday.
Authorities say these settlements come after a department investigation found that Frontier and RG&E allowed non-conforming pole attachments to remain in place on their respective utility poles without remediation, which is in violation of state safety standards.
“The agreements reflect compromises made by the opposing parties with strong incentives to craft resolutions addressing their interests,” said PSC Commission Chair John Howard. “The terms of agreements are consistent with the environmental, social, and economic policies of the Commission and the State and are within the range of reasonable outcomes that could be expected after a fully litigated proceeding.”
According to the PSC, in its decision, the commission accepted a negotiated settlement of $5 million against RG&E to resolve the dispute, with $2.5 million suspended pending compliance with remediation metrics, and it accepted a negotiated settlement of $5 million with Frontier.
Officials say the $7.5 million in immediate funds will go into an escrow account to be used by the New York State Broadband Program Office (BPO) to expand wireline broadband throughout the State. Staff will work with the BPO to disperse the funds.
According to the PSC, in addition to helping provide broadband service to unserved or underserved areas in New York State, the $10 million in settlements also include remediation metrics that require RG&E and Frontier to fully remediate all identified safety issues on their poles and conduct a full audit of their service territory and fix any safety violations found as a result.