SEC. 45-15-9. Performance of work in closer proximity to high voltage lines than permitted; notice to utility; arrangements for deterring contact with lines; binding arbitration.
(1) If any person desires to carry on any function, activity, work or operation in closer proximity to any high voltage overhead line than permitted by this chapter, the person responsible for performing the work shall promptly notify the electric utility operating the high voltage overhead line, in writing, on a form to be provided by such electric utility, and shall not perform the work until mutually satisfactory arrangements have been made between such electric utility and the person or business entity responsible for performing the work, to deter contact with the high voltage overhead lines as provided in subsection (2) below, however, this requirement shall not apply to persons lawfully occupying the land where the line is located and engaged in the regular and ordinary functions and activities of farming, ranching or other agricultural pursuits.
(2) The person responsible for performing the work in the vicinity of the high voltage overhead lines shall at no cost, receive a written cost estimate from the utility for providing the necessary safety arrangements. If such person disagrees with the reasonableness of any written cost proposal or believes that the cost proposal calls for more work than is reasonably necessary to protect those working in close proximity to the high voltage overhead lines, the following options are available to such person:
(a) The electric utility shall be directed to commence work under protest; such person shall pay the electric utility for the work in accordance with the cost proposal, but shall be entitled to seek recovery of all or any part of the money paid to the electric utility in binding arbitration as is hereinafter provided; or
(b) Prior to directing the work to be performed, the person responsible for performing the work in the vicinity of high voltage overhead power lines may submit to binding arbitration, as hereinafter provided, to resolve the issues of the reasonableness and necessity of the cost, and the description of the work to be performed by the electric utility under its written cost proposal.
(3) In the event of a disagreement between the electric utility and the person responsible for performing work in the vicinity of the high voltage overhead line regarding the reasonableness or necessity of the price or the work to be performed to deter contact with high voltage overhead lines, the disputes shall be submitted to binding arbitration in accordance with the procedures set forth in Sections 11-15-101 through 11-15-143, Mississippi Code of 1972. The Public Service Commission shall serve as arbitrator for the purposes of this chapter. The demand for arbitration shall be specifically enforceable in any court of law or equity. The decision of the arbitrators as to the reasonableness or necessity of the cost or the work to be performed shall be final and binding upon the parties.
(4) The electric utility shall commence arrangements as provided herein within five (5) working days of the mutual agreement, notice to proceed under protest, or the decision of the arbitrators. Once initiated, the clearance work will continue without unreasonable interruption to completion. Should the electric utility fail to provide for temporary clearances or safety measures in a timely manner as required by this chapter, the electric utility shall be liable for costs or loss of production of the person requesting assistance to work in close proximity to high voltage overhead lines. In locations where identity of the electric utility operating the high voltage overhead lines is not easily known, the Mississippi Public Service Commission shall, upon request, provide the name, address and telephone number of such utility for notification purposes.
SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 7015-15; Laws, 1960, ch. 257, Sec. 5; 1988, ch. 530, Sec. 5, eff from and after July 1, 1988.