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Has anyone ever successfully lobbied a utility

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Has anyone ever successfully lobbied a utility

Old 02-05-2018, 07:22 AM
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Default Has anyone ever successfully lobbied a utility

to provide services to your neighborhood? I've heard stories of petitions signed to get municipal water/sewer, or cable service to a neighborhood, but I don't think I've ever known someone who had firsthand experience and was successful.
Old 02-05-2018, 07:28 AM
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Depends. Best thing would be to lobby the twown to get on the utility about providing service to all residents if they are going to use the right of ways.
Old 02-05-2018, 07:43 AM
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Depending on your local govt structure, you want to get those elected officials lobbying for you. They will have a much better chance of being successful.
Old 02-05-2018, 07:56 AM
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To answer your question yes-
However there are so many variables in what you are asking you wont get a straight answer from anyone.
The best approach is to get a plan and several neighbors and set up a meeting with the town officials.

What exactly are you looking for? how many people in the neighborhood will participate in lobbying and buying the services that are brought into the neighborhood?
Old 02-05-2018, 08:10 AM
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We live in the county now. Trying to get natural gas service to the neighborhood so I can jettison the propane racket. We have about 70 homes. I have no idea if other residents are interested, but I would be surprised if more than half weren't.
Old 02-05-2018, 08:32 AM
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You need to get word out to the folks in the neighborhood to gauge just how much interest there is. They will likely have to pay for the connection at the house, the conversion of all devices and the line to the street and associated tap-in. If you get coordinated enough, you all might be able to save on contractors costs by doing a group buy.

However, if you can get enough of them to be interested, you can convince the gas company to price out the cost to get down the street, and maybe justify it.
Old 02-05-2018, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by km1125 View Post
You need to get word out to the folks in the neighborhood to gauge just how much interest there is. They will likely have to pay for the connection at the house, the conversion of all devices and the line to the street and associated tap-in. If you get coordinated enough, you all might be able to save on contractors costs by doing a group buy.

However, if you can get enough of them to be interested, you can convince the gas company to price out the cost to get down the street, and maybe justify it.
Have you done this before?
Old 02-05-2018, 08:51 AM
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Have you called the gas company and see where they would have to bring the line in? If the closest line is 30 miles away, I am not sure they are going to be interested. If it's at the end of the street and 40-50 houses are interested, I would think that's a different story. I once tried to do this, but just the way my house was oriented on a short street, I was the only house without service. They would have had to run a line about 65 yards to my house. They said they would split the cost with me, but it was still almost $10k.
Old 02-05-2018, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Knoxes View Post
Have you done this before?
I've actually been on the other side having to approve plant extensions like this and worked with various neighborhood organizations to see if a viable plan could be put forward. And I've done a lot of them over the years.

What initially sounds easy to do ("lots of my neighbors want it") becomes more difficult when those same neighbors have to look at their own cost to connect. However, when you do get a consensus of enough folks that get on board with wanting service, it gets easier for the company to write up the justification. Even if all the planned neighbors don't eventually get signed up the company has enough justification to invest in the plant.
Old 02-05-2018, 09:07 AM
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I'm not sure it would be worth it on either side. Existing propane users would have to convert their appliances to natural gas, pay to have the natural gas run into their house, deal with the existing tank (problematic if leased and/or buried). I think these items will dissuade existing potential customers from switching, therefore making it difficult for the natural gas provider to bring service to your neighborhood. How much do you think you will save?
Old 02-05-2018, 09:21 AM
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Yes; a group of us “lobbied” for high speed Internet. The company (AT&T) sent a representative who explained how they made a decision on providing or upgrading a service. With that, a few of us got together, developed a concept (too primitive to be called a Business Plan),and had the AT&T rep come back. We had folks ready to sign service agreements, with deposits, to demonstrate that we were serious. lo and behold, AT&T “jumped” our area ahead of their original plan by 5 years, and we got non dial-up service in a matter of a few weeks. It was profitable for AT&T, and great for us.
We used a similar process for getting natural gas introduced into the area a few years later.
Old 02-05-2018, 01:02 PM
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I would not characterize our effort as "success" but yes, in the end we had the desired result.

I lived on No Name Key for 23 years, which is right next to Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys. There are 43 homes on NNK, and up until 2013 there was no electricity on the island. We had a modern bridge, postal service, waste and recycling pick up, road maintenance, obviously taxed at the same rate as everyone else in the Lower Keys but we had no electricity or water or sewer.

My family and I fought for over 20 years to receive electricity. It was a modern day game of dodgeball, with countless hours of meetings, letter writing, phone calls, etc. Each time we thought we were making some progress, we'd end up one step backwards or at best, stationary.

Eventually, like all things like this, the only answer was to throw thousands of dollars at lawyers. Our biggest obstacle was the Board of County Commissioners in Monroe County, there is a special place in Hell for a few of them.

My best advice is this: Get in touch with your state Public Service Commission. They are the state organization that regulates all things in the public sector, utilities, roads, trains, etc. You CANNOT be discriminated against, even when some dumbass elected asshat thinks they can. You might just have to force their hand. That being said, because of the utility that services the electric in our region, they were required to provide the service, but they were not required to pay for it. So, $700K later, we had our grid supplied electricity. Each home that connected had to pay their slice of the $700K pie, or they could not connect. Once 10 years is up, our "ownership" of the infrastructure that we paid for will revert to Key Energy Services and the homes still living "off-grid" can hook up for just the normal service fee.

Start with the PSC and go from there. Be prepared to fight like hell and retain a goddam mean as hell shark of an attorney.
Old 02-05-2018, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Knoxes View Post
We live in the county now. Trying to get natural gas service to the neighborhood so I can jettison the propane racket. We have about 70 homes. I have no idea if other residents are interested, but I would be surprised if more than half weren't.
Try dealing with the gas company twice. Even though there is a transmission line that goes through our subdivision, there is no gas service.

Also, they are currently running a gas transmission line through a large tract of property my family owns, and they flat out don’t give a damn about land owner input regarding the routing of the line.

In short, if they can use the right-of-way laws to make a bunch of money, they are going to do so with impunity. Even if that means completely destroying your land value in the process. If you want their services, if it doesn’t make them enough money, good luck.
Old 02-05-2018, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
Try dealing with the gas company twice. Even though there is a transmission line that goes through our subdivision, there is no gas service.

Also, they are currently running a gas transmission line through a large tract of property my family owns, and they flat out don’t give a damn about land owner input regarding the routing of the line.

In short, if they can use the right-of-way laws to make a bunch of money, they are going to do so with impunity. Even if that means completely destroying your land value in the process. If you want their services, if it doesn’t make them enough money, good luck.
Either your family granted (sold) them the right of way or they knew about it when they bought the property. Right of ways are legal instruments.
Old 02-05-2018, 02:24 PM
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I don't know about lobbying, but me and 5 of my neighbors got the gas company to extend natural gas service down our street to our homes. We had to pay for it and it took well over a year to get it done but it was possible. Curiously, there are 4 homes at the end of the street who did not participate in the extension. I suppose they can look in to getting service extended at some future point but I never understood why they did not join in. The cost per house was pretty reasonable ($1500).
Old 02-05-2018, 02:57 PM
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In my exp utility companies will do whatever the f they want to do.

My Dad just got (and more importantly got paid on) a judgement for over $50k b/c an electric company didn't want to move a line 10 feet (yes 10 feet) across the back of his house.
Old 02-05-2018, 03:39 PM
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You can certain of this:

If you THINK 50% want it.
And 50% tell you they want it.
10% will be willing to reach in their pocket.
Old 02-05-2018, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by t84a View Post
Either your family granted (sold) them the right of way or they knew about it when they bought the property. Right of ways are legal instruments.
Owned it since the 20’s. Line going in today, via eminent domain. The part about the eminent domain process that is obsurd is that the landowner is not even allows a voice. Essentially the utility draws up their plans, and the various government agencies stamp it yes or no. The only discussion between the condemning entity and the land owner is $$$, and future land use is not a consideration.

In our case they have taken an in tact very developable 270 +/- acre partial, and are seeking to pay timber rates for passing through it (current use is timber). In reality they are cutting the tract in 3 pieces, and destroying any future development value. When we tried to have the line moved to be along side the property line, they basically said, “too late, we have our approval, see you in court regarding the value.” Moving the line would still be very workable, but cost them more for installation. Also tried to pin down my 87 year old grandmother and pay her pennies on the dollar for a quick agreement, multiple times. Thankfully she knows not to sign anything of that nature, and legally doesn’t have controlling interest of the tract.
Old 02-05-2018, 07:22 PM
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My brother in law is the Assistant General Counsel for Verizon - for the NE corridor.
(Apparently a Highup suit)
My office didnt have Fios - but across the street does.

I told him that over a few beers and that Monday I had 4 Verizon trucks on the poles making sure it was doable.

We now have fios at work.
Old 02-05-2018, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
Try dealing with the gas company twice. Even though there is a transmission line that goes through our subdivision, there is no gas service.

.
The transmission line has no bearing on gas service to a neighborhood. The company that owns the transmission line cannot sell directly to consumer, all they technically do is serve as a transportation corridor for gas bought by utilities or plants. Your local utility would need to establish distribution lines and work with the transmission company (pay) for construction of a tap/metering station - which isn’t cheap these days.

Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the line crossing your property. It can be a shitty game sometimes. I used to be in that business.

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