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Pennsylvania Code



63.41.    Underground telephone service in new residential developments.

§ 63.41. Underground telephone service in new residential developments.

 (a)  For the purpose of this section only, the following words and terms, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   (1)  Applicant for telephone service—The developer of a recorded plot plan consisting of five or more lots, or one or more five unit apartment houses.

   (2)  Developer—The party responsible for constructing and providing improvements in a development, that is, streets, sidewalks and utility-ready lots.

   (3)  Development—A planned project which is developed by a developer/applicant for telephone service set out in a recorded plot plan of five or more adjoining unoccupied lots for the construction of single-family residences, detached or otherwise, mobile homes, or apartment houses, all of which are intended for year-round occupancy, if telephone service to the lots necessitates extending the utility’s distribution lines.

   (4)  Distribution line—A main line facility directly or indirectly connecting the customers in a development to the telephone central office.

   (5)  Service line—A line from the distribution line to the residence of the subscriber.

   (6)  Subdivider—The party responsible for dividing a tract of land into building lots which are not to be sold as utility-ready lots.

   (7)  Subdivision—A tract of land divided by a subdivider into five or more adjoining unoccupied lots for the construction of single-family residences, detached or otherwise, or apartment houses, all of which are intended for year-around occupancy, if telephone service to the lots necessitates extending the utility’s existing distribution lines.

 (b)  Distribution and service lines, except pedestals, installed as the result of an application for the telephone service within a development shall be installed underground; shall conform to the utility’s construction standards; and shall be owned and maintained by the utility. Excavating and backfilling shall be performed by the applicant for telephone service or by another agent the applicant may authorize. Other installation shall be performed by the utility or by another agent the utility may authorize. The utility may not be liable for injury or damage occasioned by the wilful or negligent excavation, breakage or other interference with its underground lines occasioned by anyone other than its own employes or agent. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a utility from performing its own excavating and backfilling for greater system design flexibility. No charges other than those specified in subsections (c) and (d) is permitted.

 (c)  The applicant for telephone service to a development shall do the following:

   (1)  At its own cost, provide the utility with a copy of the recorded development plot plan identifying property boundaries, and with easements satisfactory to the utility for occupancy and maintenance of distribution and service lines and related facilities.

   (2)  At its own cost, clear the ground in which the service lines and related facilities are to be laid of trees, stumps and other obstructions, provide the excavating and backfilling according to utility specifications and subject to the inspection and approval of the utility, and backfill within 6 inches of final grade. Utility specifications for excavating and backfilling shall be set forth by the utility in written form and presented to the applicant at the time of application for the service and presentation of the plot plan to the utility. If the utility’s specifications have not been met by the applicant’s excavating and backfilling, the excavating and backfilling shall be corrected or redone by the applicant or its authorized agent. Failure to comply with the utility’s construction standards and specifications permits the utility to refuse utility service until the standards and specifications are met.

   (3)  Request the installation of distribution and service lines at the time that the lines may be installed before curbs, pavements and sidewalks are laid; carefully coordinate scheduling of the utility’s line and facility installation with the general project construction schedule including coordination with another utility sharing the same trench; keep the route of lines clear of machinery and other obstructions when the line installation crew is scheduled to appear; and otherwise cooperate with the utility to avoid unnecessary costs and delay.

   (4)  Place with the telephone company, in advance or upon other terms that the company may require, the following charges:

     (i)   A prepayment in aid of construction in an amount not in excess of 60% of the company’s costs of the distribution line for the development.

     (ii)   The prepayment in aid of construction will be refunded on a proportionate basis for each contract for telephone service rendered. The basis for total refund shall be 100% refund upon receipt of telephone contracts for telephone service from 50% of the total development within a 10 year period.

 (d)  If the applicant changes the plot plan after installation of the telephone utility’s lines has begun, or requests deviation from the utility’s established underground construction practices, the additional costs shall be borne by the applicant. No charges other than those described in this subsection and in subsection (c) may be borne by the applicant for telephone service or by another utility sharing the same trench, even if the utility elects to perform its own excavating and backfilling.

 (e)  The Commission believes that there should be joint use of trenches whenever economically and technologically feasible. However, the Commission realizes that the economic advantages which can result from the joint use of trenches may at times be obviated by the technological disadvantages of joint occupancy. Therefore, the Commission will not make the joint use of trenches mandatory but will require the joint use of trenches whenever the circumstances indicate that the use would be feasible and parties agree thereto.

 (f)  This section applies to all requests for distribution facilities for telephone service to developments which are filed after June 9, 1984.

 (g)  Amounts the public utility receives under subsection (c)(4)(i) shall be credited to Accounts 174-Other deferred credits.

 (h)  Whenever the public utility or an affected person believes that the application of the tariff rule works an undue hardship, involves a physical impossibility, or is otherwise inappropriate, the utility or person may request an exception from the undergrounding requirements of this section by following the procedure set forth in §  57.86 (relating to exceptions).

 (i)  Exceptions, as granted by the Commission for electric distribution lines under §  57.86 shall also apply to telephone facilities. If an exception request initiated by an applicant for telephone service is granted and the applicant thereafter desires underground service, then this section shall apply as if no exception had been granted.

 (j)  Telephone utilities shall file a tariff supplement adding this section to its tariff. The tariff supplement shall become effective on the date filed.

 (k)  Telephone utilities shall file undergrounding construction and specification standards and revisions thereto with the Commission’s Bureau of Fixed Utility Services.

 (l)  Underground facilities in new residential developments are only required by this section when a bona fide developer exists, that is only when utility-ready lots are provided by the developer. A mere subdivision is not required to have underground service. However, should the lot owner or owners in a subdivision desire underground service, the service shall be provided by the utility if the lot owner or owners, at his option, either complies with subsection (c) or pays to the utility the charges that are contained in the utility’s tariff for underground telephone service not required by this title.


   The provisions of this §  63.41 amended under the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 504—506, 1301 and 1501.


   The provisions of this §  63.41 adopted March 25, 1946; amended through June 30, 1969; amended June 29, 1984, effective June 30, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 2250; amended July 17, 1998, effective July 18, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 3394. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (205892) to (205895).

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