The PSC held a public hearing on proposed rules for stricter construction standards for electric companies, including requiring underground power lines.
Phone companies are concerned they will get socked with billions of dollars in costs too, because they piggyback off many of the same power lines.
“There are 10 points, actually in the plan they're looking at," says Kirsten Olsen, a spokesperson for the PSC. "Including vegetation management, how to handle the issues of what places are appropriate for underground lines, polls and the safety and liability of polls and their ability to stay up in the high winds."
Bell South estimates its costs alone to redo lines on polls abandoned by electric companies under the new rules could run as high as $4 billion.
The PSC wants a staff recommendation by October 12, with a final vote at its October 24 meeting.