Duke Energy Goes to Court Over FCC Pole Attachment Decision

UPDATE Inside Towers reported earlier this month the FCC stood by a 2021 decision concerning a pole attachment rate dispute between Duke Energy and AT&T. The agency denied Duke’s request for a review of the earlier decision. Now, Duke Energy has asked a federal appeals court to intervene.

Specifically, Duke asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review the Commission’s decision, saying it was “adversely affected” by certain parts of the order. In its petition reviewed by Inside Towers, Duke says parts of the order “exceed or are inconsistent with the FCC’s jurisdiction and statutory authority” and “are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise contrary to law.” Duke is asking the court to “hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and/or set aside portions of the Order.” Neither the FCC nor AT&T commented, according to Communications Litigation Today.

The dispute between the powerco and AT&T concerned rates that Duke charged the telecom for attaching to its utility poles in the Carolinas. The Commission denied requests from Duke and AT&T to review portions of the decision.

The Commissioners upheld an earlier Enforcement Bureau decision that found the rates AT&T paid under a Joint Use Agreement were “unjust and unreasonable.” It ordered the powerco to charge a lower rate, Inside Towers reported.  

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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