Connecticut has finally shed its legacy adherence to an old pole attachment formula that weighted in (higher) incremental costs and used dated assumptions about how much usable space exists on a utility pole. In a Final Decision approved today, the Connecticut Public Regulatory Authority (PURA) set Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) pole attachment rental rates using the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formulas.
The resulting rates – which we expect to be $6.60/$13.19 for cable attachments on jointly and solely owned poles and $6.94/$13.89 for telecommunications attachments on jointly and solely owned poles – are significantly less than rate increase sought by CL&P ($8.28 JO/$16.56 SO). The large majority of CL&P poles are jointly owned with Frontier.
Significantly, in following the FCC formulas, the PURA rejected arguments by CL&P which sought to inflate embedded pole costs, to use a superseded and unsubstantiated usable space factor, and to alter the cost adjustment factors established in the 2011 FCC Pole Attachment Order. It also accepted a statistically valid survey that the Connecticut cable operators conducted demonstrating the substantially higher pole heights in use today, which in turn produce lower pole rents.
The decision is a significant victory for NECTA and Fibertech, which participated on behalf of the cable and telecom industries.
DWT presented expert witness testimony and strategic support for NECTA in this case.