The Summit County Council had a fairly routine meeting Wednesday, and the longest discussion was about the prospective renewal of a Franchise Agreement with Rocky Mountain Power.
Council member Chris Robinson had several questions on the details of the agreement—but he told KPCW it’s been decades since the deal was reviewed.
The council did not come to a decision about the agreement, which allows the power company to use the county right-of-way. Robinson said they will take up the item again in a couple of weeks.
“I think the biggest issue on any of these franchise agreements is how broad we want to draw the hunting license we give the utility to put anything they want in our right of way. Probably the biggest part of that is whether we let them go overhead with powerlines. In this case with Rocky Mountain Power. The way the franchise agreement was written that they could basically go in any county right of way that we have. Which could be a trail, a path, a lane, a highway, a regular road, a class D road, any kind of road that we claim a right of way across the county and go overhead. Most people are trying to bury powerlines especially distribution lines. Then there’s also the issue of what happens if there’s a powerline in one of our rights of way and we need to expand the road and we prefer that it go underground, how is that dealt with?”
He said the Franchise Agreement was last ratified 50 years ago. The parties have until December 3rd of this year to renew it.
“I view it as an important thing. I don’t go deep on everything, but I did on this because I want to get it right. We’re not going to wait for a year the utility and we both want to get it done quickly. We’re going to see it in the next week or two or three. We’re going to go through some edits and negotiate final terms.”