City of Fitchburg, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg as §§ 6-1 through 6-27 of the 1965 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Electrical fees - See Ch. 94, Art. I.
Disruption of electrical power causing false alarms — See Ch. 140.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
EQUIPMENT
Includes all wires, attachments, posts, poles, crossarms, fixtures or conduits designed to carry electrical current.
INSPECTOR
Superintendent of Wires.
INSTRUMENTALITIES
Synonymous with equipment.
[Amended 1-18-1983 by Ord. No. 10-83]
There is hereby established a department to be known as the "Electric Wires Department," which shall be under the supervision of the Superintendent of Wires, who shall be subject to the supervision of the Superintendent of Buildings.
The Superintendent of Wires shall also be the Inspector of Wires required by MGL c. 166, § 32.
The Superintendent of Wires shall be a duly licensed electrician under the laws of the commonwealth, with at least five years' experience, and shall have a thorough knowledge of overhead, underground and inside electrical construction.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
The Superintendent of Wires shall be appointed by the Mayor in accordance with civil service laws. His or her compensation shall be fixed by the Council, subject to the approval of the Mayor.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
The Superintendent of Wires shall devote his or her whole time to the service of the City and shall engage in no other business or calling and shall be subject to call at all times, if occasion requires.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
The Superintendent of Wires shall have the care, supervision and management of the electric wires, electrical apparatus, electrical machinery and other property in connection therewith now or hereafter owned or controlled by the City, and he or she shall keep the same at all times in good working order and shall have access to all municipal buildings and places for these purposes. All additions to the systems and all new electric wires and apparatus erected by the City or for its use shall be erected by him or her or under his or her supervision. He or she shall be subject to call by the Chief of the Fire Department at all fires when the Chief deems it necessary and, while there, shall be subject to his or her orders.
The Superintendent of Wires shall have charge of the enforcement of the provisions of MGL c. 166, §§ 30 to 33, and shall do all acts necessary, reasonable or proper in order to fully and effectively execute the provisions and requirements of those sections and this chapter.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
A. 
The Superintendent of Wires shall keep himself or herself informed as to the conditions of all electrical equipment and all supports of wires and ascertain if such equipment or supports are kept in proper condition and not weakened by decay or other causes. He or she shall notify, in writing, the person owning, operating or maintaining such equipment or supports to forthwith remove, repair or replace same if it is for any reason in an unsafe, hazardous or dangerous condition or if it does not comply with the provisions of law, and grant such person reasonable time within which to remedy the condition. If the person owning, operating or maintaining same fails or neglects to repair or replace same within the time specified by the Superintendent in the written notice so to do, the Superintendent shall cause same to be repaired or made safe or, where absolutely necessary, removed, at the expense of the person owning, maintaining or operating same, who shall be liable to reimburse the City for such cost or expense. If the person owning, maintaining or operating the equipment above enumerated fails or neglects to comply with an order by the Inspector, he or she shall be punished as provided by § 1-9.
B. 
Whenever, in the opinion of the Inspector of Wires, any equipment used for the distribution of an electric current is in an unsafe or dangerous condition, he or she is hereby authorized to cut off or shut off the current and order the existing defects remedied before the current is turned on or order the existing defects remedied within a reasonable time.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
The Superintendent of Wires is authorized to prepare such rules and regulations as he or she may deem necessary to make conductors and appliances as safe as practicable, which rules and regulations shall become effective upon adoption by the Council and approval by the Mayor.
Each application for a location under MGL c. 166, § 22, shall be accompanied by a plan, drawn to a scale which shall be designated upon the plan, and shall indicate upon the plan or in the application the streets upon which the pertinent lines are to be constructed, the location of the several posts, the kind of posts to be initially installed, the height at which the wires are to be placed, the voltage of wires if in excess of 6,000 volts and the dimensions and location of the underground conduit if such lines or any part thereof are to be laid underground. Each such application and plan shall be filed in triplicate, and the City Clerk shall transmit the duplicate to the Superintendent of Wires and the triplicate to the Superintendent of Streets. The location and construction of the line shall conform in all respects to the application and plan except for such changes therein or additions thereto as may be made by the Council in granting the location.
The City shall have the right, free of charge, to place its fire alarm telegraph, telephone and police and traffic signal wires upon any poles or within any conduits in each case when it is practicable and safe so to do. In every underground conduit hereafter constructed, one duct (being agreed as sufficient space) not less than three inches in diameter shall be reserved and maintained for the above enumerated systems of the City, and the City shall have the right of access thereto at all reasonable times for purposes of repair, alteration, installation or maintenance thereof.
Every person constructing, maintaining or operating a line for the transmission of electricity shall, when requested by the Council, execute a bond with satisfactory sureties, in a penal sum to be fixed by the Council and in form satisfactory to the City Solicitor, conditioned to indemnify and save harmless the City against all damages, costs, expenses and losses whatsoever to which it may be subjected in consequence of the acts and neglect of such person, its agents, officers and servants and in any manner arising from or growing out of the use and transmission of electricity and privileges permitted by the City and the construction, maintenance, operation and use of any equipment, and also conditioned to fulfill all agreements with the City and to comply with all lawful orders, conditions and obligations imposed by the Council and all the obligations and duties required by law and ordinance, and a new bond of like import and with new sureties may at any time be required by the Council, which new bond shall be a strengthening bond, unless the sureties on former bonds are expressly released from further liability by vote of the Council.
All wires maintained along or across streets or public places of the City shall be placed underground or at a height of not less than 18 feet from the ground over the middle of a street nor less than 16 feet at the street line, upon suitable poles or from building to building; and every line of wires shall be constructed, placed and maintained so as not to interfere with any other line nor with the operation of the fire alarm telegraph or police signal system.
All abandoned wires shall be forthwith removed by the person erecting or maintaining them.
[Amended 5-4-2011 by Ord. No. 098-2011]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMPANY
Any company having overhead wires on any poles or other within the City.
UTILITY
A company engaging in the distribution of electricity or owning, operating or controlling distribution facilities; provided, however, that a distribution company shall not include any entity which owns or operates plant or equipment used to produce electricity, steam and chilled water, or an affiliate engaged solely in the provision of such electricity, steam and chilled water, where the electricity produced by such entity or its affiliate is primarily for the benefit of hospitals and nonprofit educational institutions, and where such plant or equipment was in operation before January 1, 1986.
VEGETATION MANAGEMENT
Means and includes all measures reasonably required and measures intended to prevent or minimize the number of downed transmission lines, power outages or other interferences with the delivery of electricity and includes trimming of trees and tree limbs, herbicide applications and any other means or method of preventing vegetable matter from interfering with or damaging transmission lines, subtransmission lines or other property of the company. It also includes regular and periodic inspections of vegetable matter along or near transmission lines to determine whether trees or tree limbs need trimming or removal.
B. 
Submission and approval of vegetation management plan.
(1) 
A utility or any company at the request of the Tree Warden, or his or her designee, shall submit an annual vegetation management plan describing all of the system for inspecting trees to determine if they require trimming or removal, and the maintenance work to be performed in the City. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, a map of the circuits where the inspection and/or maintenance work will be performed, the tree maintenance standards that will be followed and any foreseeable variance from those standards and any reasonable requirement imposed by the Tree Warden or his or her designee. The plan shall include information about the intended use of herbicides, the chemical name of the herbicide, the locations in which the herbicide will be used and the means used to apply the herbicide. The plan shall comply with any applicable City ordinances and the applicable regulations of any City board, commission or department. The plan and the tree trimming shall comply with every regulation, order or regulation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The plan shall be submitted not less than 90 days prior to the date the utility proposes to begin its maintenance work. Upon receipt of the plan, the Tree Warden, or a designee thereof, shall notify the utility within 60 days, in writing, whether or not the plan has been approved. Upon receipt of written notification that the plan has been approved, or approved with modifications agreed to by both parties, a utility or company shall be exempt from the requirements of MGL c. 87, §§ 3 and 5, for the work described in the approved plan.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
(2) 
A utility or company at the request of the Tree Warden, or his or her designee, shall submit an annual hazard tree removal and trimming plan describing hazard tree removal and trimming work to be performed in the City. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, the specific trees that the utility has identified as a hazard and proposes to remove or trim. The plan shall comply with any applicable City ordinances and the applicable regulations of any City board, commission or department. The plan and the tree removal or trimming shall comply with every regulation, order or regulation of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The plan shall be submitted not less than 90 days prior to the date a utility or company proposes to begin tree removal and trimming. Upon receipt of the plan, the Tree Warden, or a designee thereof, shall notify the utility or company within 60 days, in writing, whether or not the plan has been approved. Upon receipt of written notification that the plan has been approved, or approved with modifications agreed to by both parties, the utility shall be exempt from the requirements of MGL c. 87, §§ 3 and 5, for the work described in the approved plan.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
(3) 
If a Tree Warden fails to notify a utility or company whether a vegetation management plan or hazard tree removal and trimming plan has been approved within 60 days of the Tree Warden's receipt of the plan, the utility or company may request a decision by the Mayor. The Mayor's decision will be final. If the Mayor does not approve of the plans, the utility or company will then be subject to requirements of MGL c. 87, §§ 3 and 5 for the work described in the plans. The Mayor may inform the Department of Public Utilities of the failure of the company to present an adequate plan and seek an order from the Department of Public Utilities or the courts to have the necessary work performed.
(4) 
Notwithstanding approval of a vegetation management plan or hazard tree removal plan, a utility or company shall notify a Tree Warden, in writing, not less than 14 days prior to beginning maintenance work or tree removal work in the City. The notice provided shall include the date on which the utility will begin work and the phone number of the person or persons supervising the work in the field.
(5) 
If herbicides are approved in the management plan, the utility or company shall provide written notice to the abutters of any affected property at least three days in advance describing the name of the chemical, the proposed method of application, the duration of application and the known risks to health and safety of people, pets and nearby vegetation to which it is not being applied.
(6) 
If the Tree Warden or his or her designee learns of any tree or limb thereof that may present a danger of causing a downed line during ice or snow storms or during windy weather, he or she shall notify any utility or company with the responsibility for those lines, and the utility or company shall trim or remove the tree.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
Interpretation.
(1) 
Each section, each provision or requirement of any section of this section shall be considered separable. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this section is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
(2) 
It is the intent of the City of Fitchburg, acting by and through its legislative and executive branches, to regulate the performance of maintenance and tree removal work by utilities and any company that erects or maintains any wires on a utility pole as set forth in this section consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the statutory provisions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any ambiguity or doubt in interpreting or construing any section, word or provision of this section shall be resolved in a manner so as to further the expressed intent of the section.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Every person maintaining any poles in or within the location of public ways of the City shall, within 30 days after a written request therefor from the Superintendent of Wires, furnish the Superintendent with such full and accurate information as to the location of any of its poles or conduit, and the voltage of electrical current running through its wires as may be essential to the proper performance of his or her duties.
Any person who is legally licensed or authorized to remove any buildings or to do any other acts which shall require the cutting or removing or interfering with the wires of the fire alarm telegraph and police signal system shall first give 24 hours notice to the Superintendent of Wires, who shall forthwith notify the Chief of the Fire Department or the Chief of the Police Department, as the case may be.
Except as to electrical work which may be done by persons other than licensed electricians, as provided by MGL c. 141, § 7, any person proposing to place or install any equipment designed for the transmission or carrying of electricity or electrical current for lighting, cooling, heating or power purposes or to alter or extend any existing system over or under any street or any building or within any building shall obtain a written permit therefor from the Inspector of Wires, except in case of emergency repairs, as hereafter provided, upon commencing the work or within five days after commencing the work, and shall not turn the current on to the wires or equipment until such wiring has been inspected and approved and permission so to do has been granted by the Superintendent. The application for a permit shall be on forms provided by the Superintendent, shall describe in detail the nature and location of the work to be done and shall be accompanied, when requested by the Superintendent, by complete plans and specifications of the proposed installation, alteration or extension.
[Amended 4-4-1967]
A. 
The Superintendent of Wires shall not grant permits, licenses and approval for electrical services to be done unless the fees herein provided for have been paid to the Superintendent of Wires:
(1) 
Each 100 amperes of service capacity: $1.
(2) 
Each additional 100 amperes or part thereof: $1.
(3) 
Reinspection fee: $1.
(4) 
All other permits not otherwise specified: $1.
B. 
The Superintendent of Wires shall remit the fees collected by his or her respective officers to the City Treasurer monthly.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
If the application for a permit required by § 89-19 meets with the requirements of the laws of the commonwealth and the provisions of this chapter, the Superintendent of Wires shall grant the permit. He or she shall act upon all applications promptly, and in any event within five days after same have been filed. He or she shall, upon request therefor, state his or her reasons for rejection of any permit in writing. Work done without a permit or in violation of the terms thereof shall be stopped upon order of the Superintendent.
For emergency repairs in establishments or power plants where a licensed electrician is employed continuously on the premises, no permit shall be necessary, but such an establishment or power plant shall be open for inspection by the Superintendent of Wires at all reasonable times and a monthly report, in approved form, shall be sent to the Inspector showing all changes or additions.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Temporary permits may be issued by the Superintendent of Wires, at his or her discretion, allowing a current to be used on certain specific circuits or parts of an installation while the work of constructing, altering or repairing such system is in progress. Temporary permits may be granted for exposed wiring systems within or on buildings in any or all parts of the City and may be renewed or canceled at the direction of the Superintendent.
The Superintendent of Wires shall keep a complete record of all work done, permits issued, examinations made or other official work performed as required by this chapter, and these records shall be open to inspection at all reasonable times.
Any person aggrieved by any decision, order or ruling of the Superintendent of Wires under the provisions of this chapter or under the Electrical Code of the City shall have the right of appeal therefrom to the Board of Appeals in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 7, Article V, relating to the Board of Appeals.
This chapter shall not be construed to relieve or lessen the responsibility of any person owning, operating or controlling any electrical equipment for damages to anyone injured by any defect therein, nor shall the City be held as assuming any such liability by reason of the inspection authorized herein or permits issued by its agents or servants exercising the rights and powers given herein.
All electrical work shall be installed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the National Electrical Code as presently approved and as amended from time to time and thereafter approved, the provisions of MGL c. 143, §§ 3L and 3P, and the rules and regulations of the City and the rules and regulations established by the Superintendent of Wires, which rules and regulations shall be in accordance with the National Electrical Code and the General Laws.