Private Utility Poles Being Considered on Beacon Hill

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: State Representative Dylan Fernandes

BOSTON – Barnstable/Dukes/Nantucket State Representative Dylan Fernandes is working on legislation that would impose disclosure rules on power companies and realtors mandating they inform utility customers as to the ownership status of utility poles servicing their property.

The move comes at the suggestion of Martha’s Vineyard residents urging the change.

Currently, property owners may be responsible for repairing utility poles damaged during inclement weather, sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars.

“When power lines break, we have the reasonable expectation that the utility company will fix them.” Said Fernandes.

“However, many homeowners in our district and across Massachusetts were never told that their lines and poles are private and, that when they break, they will be stuck with a bill often in the tens of thousands of dollars. The lack of consumer protection for homeowners is unacceptable and we have proposed a commonsense solution to address it.”

Vineyard resident, Dennis Golden, who first brought this issue to the attention of Representative Fernandes also weighed in on the legislation.

“Many homeowners living in Massachusetts are unaware that the power lines delivering their electricity are privately owned, their responsibility, rather than owned and maintained by Eversource. I, and a collective of Martha’s Vineyard homeowners support the well thought out legislation proposed by Dylan Fernandes to address this problem across the Commonwealth.”

The bill mandates realtors to disclose the ownership of the poles, requires utility companies to notify homeowners when their poles are privately owned, offer customers the ability to compel utility companies to take over maintenance and provides a mechanism for compensating ratepayers for the maintenance of private lines and poles.

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