California has estimated 4.2 million utility poles.  The Commission would like a better understanding of the location, ownership, characteristics, cost structure, attachments, and management of these poles.  General Order (GO) 95 specifies the rules for overhead electric (and communications) line construction, while GO 128 (underground electric and communications systems) and GO 159 (wireless telephone facilities) also are implicated.  In light of several catastrophic fires caused, at least in part, by utility pole overloading and/or pole attachment failure, the Commission’s Safety and Enforcement Division has filed two petitions, Petition 16-05-004 and Petition 17-03-004, requesting changes to GO 95.  In response to the first, the Commission issued R.16-12-001, an Order Instituting Rulemaking to consider specified amendments to Rule 18 of General Order 95.  Our concerns with regard to pole safety and related right of way issues, however, go considerably beyond General Order 95.  As the Commission said in D.16-12-025, poles are "where the Commission's safety mandate meets, and must be reconciled with, its goal of a competitive [telecommunications] market."  

The Commission organized a workshop on March 17, 2017, to examine the status of databases and database applications in California regarding pole and conduit information; including location, attachments, material, ownership, and management, as well as the implications of such data management for safety and access. Ms. Elizaveta Malashenko, Director of the Safety and Enforcement Division facilitated the workshop.

The workshop webcast is available here:   

Below are presentations at the workshop by the following parties:

 Informal post-workshop comments were lodged by CalTel and Extanet.

 For Furthermore information, please contact Ms. Elizaveta Malashenko, Director of the Safety and Enforcement Division; Mr. Chris Witteman, Legal Division; Mr. Michael Morris, Communication Division; and/or David K. Lee, P.E, Energy Division.