Court date nears for PUD and USA Media |

Court date nears for PUD and USA Media

The next federal court hearing regarding litigation between Truckee-Donner Public Utility District and USA Media is set for later this month, according to Steve Gross, the district’s legal counsel.

TDPUD filed suit in November in an attempt to seek a restraining order against USA Media to halt its placement of fiber-optic cable on the district’s utility poles until applications were submitted. At about the same time, USA Media filed suit claiming it has rights under the Federal Pole Attachment Act to attach wires to the district’s utility poles and that the PUD breached the pole attachment agreement between the two organizations.

Gross said the district filed a motion to dismiss the entire case. TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister said the district believes that it is exempt under the Federal Pole Attachment Act because it is a municipal government.

The PUD currently has a court-ordered restraining order against USA Media, requiring the cable company to have construction plans approved by the district before they can attach fiber-optic cable. The district is currently processing and approving the applications as they come in.

Gross said USA Media is expected to reply to the district’s motion to dismiss the case by Feb. 11.

“The case has never actually gone to a hearing,” Holzmeister said. “We think it’s a straight legal question. We think the judge will read the law and realize that we do not fall under this act (Federal Pole Attachment Act).”

USA Media Regional Manager Roger Terneuzen was unavailable for comment presstime Wednesday.

TDPUD regular board meeting

At last night’s TDPUD regular board meeting, staff and board members were scheduled to meet with Peter Lovrovich, Director of Power and Telecommunications for the city of Ashland, Ore., to share that community’s experience launching a telecommunications business.

“I thought it would be informative for the board to hear from a community that has gone down the path we’re thinking about going down,” Holzmeister said of the district plans to enter into the telecommunications business and build a high-speed data transmission system.

Other business items on the agenda included:

– Consideration of a proposal to provide assistance from the district’s public benefits program to the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency for energy efficiency measures.

– Discussion of the district’s recruitment of journey linemen.

– Discussion of the district’s process for issuance of pole attachments.

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