Roadrunner Capitol Reports
Legislation Detail

S 42 UTILITY EASEMENTS FOR BROADBAND ACT

Sen Michael Padilla

Actions: [1] SCC/STBTC/SJC-SCC [6]germane-STBTC [7] DNP-CS/DP-SJC API.

Scheduled: Not Scheduled

image of sponsor
Summary:
 Senate Bill 42 (SB 42) enacts the Utility Easements for Broadband Act (UEFBA) that authorizes the use and sharing of utility easements for the provision of communications service throughout the state. It requires notice to the property owner; provides for optional recording of such notice; establishes claims pursuant to the use of utility easements; allows cost recovery for communications infrastructure projects; and provides definitions. 
Legislation Overview:
 Senate Bill 42 (SB 42) enacts the Utility Easements for Broadband Act (UEFBA) in Chapter 62 NMSA 1978 that authorizes the use and sharing of utility easements for the provision of communications service throughout the state. It allows for the establishment of a utility easement that runs with the land by complying with the notice provision in the UEFBA. Such an easement does not require commission approval but does require some ordinance or zoning rules burdening the property for this purpose.

SB 42 specifies the content of the required notice the public utility must give a property owner and the number of days for certain types of rights being exercised. It may be sent by regular mail with a three-day delivery assumption and need only be sent once.

SB 42 makes the recording of the easement a way to perfect the rights against others with rights in the burdened property or appurtenant property with one exception for the crossing of another public utility right of way (ROW)

SB 42 allows for the recovery of the reasonable costs of these easements after notice and a public hearing on either a commission-approved tariff rider or an increase* in base rates. It allows for recovery for the customers in the leasing, licensing or other transfer of these rights.

It allows for claims with certain provision such as a statute of limitation of one-year and the approved methods for calculating that time period, prohibition on the use of certain evidence and class actions; limitation on damages; and other provisions. It clarifies other rights and responsibilities of the public utility concerning these broadband utility easements

SB 42 provides definitions for seven terms including burdened parcel; commission; communication infrastructure; communication service; notice address; public utility; and utility easement. 
 
*Is PG 7 & LINE 14 incomplete? …in base rates] 
 
Committee Substitute:
 The Senate Tax, Business and Transportation introduced a committee substitute (CS/SB 42 STBTC). It enacts the Utility Easements for Broadband Act (UEFBA) in Chapter 62 NMSA 1978 that authorizes the use and sharing of utility easements for the provision of middle mile broadband service throughout the state. Middle mile broadband service permits a communication service provider to have or install the fiber capacity for the purpose of bringing broadband service to retail customers but does not include the public utility providing communication service directly to end-use retail customers. CS/SB 42 STBTC allows a public utility to cause or allow a broadband affiliate to offer retail commercial broadband service to end users. 

It allows for the establishment of a utility easement that runs with the land by complying with the notice provision in the UEFBA. It permits third parties who are acting pursuant to a lease, license or other right to use any the public utility’s communication infrastructure to send notice. Such an easement does not require commission approval but does require some ordinance or zoning rules burdening the property for this purpose.

CS/SB 42 STBTC specifies the content of the required notice the public utility must give a property owner and the number of days for certain types of rights being exercised. It may be sent by regular mail with a three-day delivery assumption and need only be sent once.

CS/SB 42 STBTC makes the recording of the easement a way to perfect the rights against others with rights in the burdened property or appurtenant property with one exception for the crossing of another public utility right of way (ROW)
 
CS/SB 42 STBTC allows for the recovery of the reasonable costs of these easements after notice and a public hearing on either a Public Regulation Commission (PRC)-approved tariff rider or an increase in base rates or both. If the PRC fails to issue an order for recovery of costs in six months, the recovery is deemed approved. It permits recovery for the utility’s customers in the leasing, licensing or other transfer of these rights against third parties using the communication infrastructure in a future rate case.

It allows for claims with certain provision such as a statute of limitation of one-year and the approved methods for calculating that time period, prohibition on the use of certain evidence and class actions; limitation on damages; and other provisions. It clarifies other rights and responsibilities of the public utility concerning these broadband utility easements. CS/SB 42 STBTC prohibits the public utility offering middle mile broadband service to discriminate among service providers, including its broadband affiliate, in terms of fees or granting middle mile broadband service. 

CS/SB 42 STBTC provides definitions for nine terms including broadband affiliate; burdened parcel; commission; communication infrastructure; communication service; middle mile broadband service; notice address; public utility; and utility easement. 

CS/SB 42 STBTC would be effective 1 July 2022.

 
Relates To:
 CS/SB 42 STBTC relates to HB 120 and SB 71