New / Proposed Legislation
Changes to Rhode Island "Dig Safe Law" effective June 30, 2017
2017 -- S 0552 SUBSTITUTE A
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S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2017
A N A C T
RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS
Introduced By: Senator P Fogarty
Date Introduced: March 15, 2017
Referred To: Senate Commerce
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
1 SECTION 1. Sections 39-1.2-1, 39-1.2-5 and 39-1.2-11 of the General Laws in Chapter
2 39-1.2 entitled "Excavation Near Underground Utility Facilities" are hereby amended to read as
4 39-1.2-1. Definitions.
5 As used in this chapter:
6 (1) "Administrator" means the administrator of the division of public utilities and
8 (2) "Approximate location of underground facilities" means a strip of land extending not
9 more than one and one-half (1 1/2) feet on either side of the underground facilities.
10 (3) "Association" means the group of public utilities formed pursuant to § 39-1.2-4 for
11 the purpose of receiving and giving notice of excavation activity within the state.
12 (4) "Damage" means and includes but is not limited to the substantial weakening of
13 structural or lateral support of a utility line, penetration, or destruction of any utility line
14 protective coating, housing, or other protective device or the severance, partial or complete of any
15 utility line.
16 (5) "Demolition" means the wrecking, razing, rending, moving, or removing of any
18 (6) "Excavation" means an operation for the purpose of movement or removal of earth,
19 rock, or other materials in or on the ground, or otherwise disturbing the subsurface of the earth,
1 by the use of powered or mechanized equipment, including but not limited to digging, blasting,
2 auguring, back filling, test boring, drilling, pile driving, grading, plowing in, hammering, pulling
3 in, trenching, and tunneling; excluding the movement of earth by tools manipulated only by
4 human or animal power and the tilling of soil for agricultural purposes.
5 (7) "Governing authority" means the permit issuing authority.
6 (8) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or a public utility,
7 including a person engaged as a contractor by a public agency and including a public agency.
8 (9) "Public agency" means the state or any political subdivision thereof, including any
9 governmental agency.
10 (10) "Public utility" means the owner or operator of underground facilities for furnishing
11 electric, gas, telephone, or water service as defined in § 39-1-2(20); and also means and includes,
12 for the purposes of this chapter only, electric transmission companies and nonregulated power
13 producers, as defined in § 39-1-2(13) and (19); any cable television service; and any water
14 company which voluntarily becomes a member of the association provided for under § 39-1.2-4.
15 (11) "Public utility facilities" means the underground plant and equipment owned and
16 operated by a public utility for the purpose of furnishing electricity, gas, water, cable television
17 or telephone service; including the underground plant and equipment owned and operated by any
18 water company, not subject to regulation by the administrator of the division of the public utilities
19 which voluntarily joins the association provided for under § 39-1.2-4. Utility facilities shall
20 include active, newly installed and inactive or abandoned, utility facilities.
21 (12) "Abandoned utility facilities" means any known underground or submerged utility
22 line or facility that has been permanently taken out of service. For excavation purposes the
23 abandoned underground utility facilities should always be considered to be active utility service.
24 (13) "Inactive utility facilities" means any underground or submerged utility facilities line
25 or facility that has been temporarily taken out of service with the expectation of becoming usable
26 in the future.
27 (14) "Immediate danger to life and health" means likely to cause death or immediate or
28 delayed permanent adverse health effects or prevent escape from such an environment.
29 39-1.2-5. Notice of excavation.
30 (a) Except as provided in § 39-1.2-9, any person, public agency, or public utility
31 responsible for excavating within one hundred feet (100') or for discharging explosives within
32 one hundred feet (100') of a public utility facility shall notify the association of the proposed
33 excavation or discharge at least seventy-two (72) hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and
34 holidays, but not more than thirty (30) days before commencing the excavation or discharge of
1 explosives. Actual excavation must thereupon commence within thirty (30) days
completed within sixty (60) days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, or the excavator
must renotify the association. Each public utility shall, upon receipt of each notice of