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FCC Power-Utility Letter

FCC Power-Utility Letter

Your power company may be interested in the text of the letter the FCC Call Center can send out in cases of power line interference. Hopefully, they will prefer to read the copy of this letter printed from the ARRL Web page instead of receiving a personalized copy from the FCC!

If someone has exhausted every reasonable possibility at resolving a power-line interference problem with a utility company, they can contact the FCC Call Center and discuss their problem with one of the FCC personnel. If the FCC staff feel that it would be helpful, they can send out their "RFI -- Power-Utility Letter" that explains the FCC rules, explains the possible penalties for violating those rules and asks the utility operator to resolve the problem voluntarily in a reasonable time period.

If you do contact the Call Center, be prepared to explain briefly the steps you have taken to try to resolve this with your power company. If you and the FCC staff agree that having the FCC send the "RFI-Power-Utility Letter" is appropriate, be prepared to supply them with the utility name, address and, if possible, an individual to receive the letter. This individual should be an upper manager or Vice President, if possible.

If the interference involves an operator in the Amateur Radio Service, the ARRL may be able to help by providing information about power-line noise.


Federal Communications Commission Call Center
1270 Fairfield Rd
Gettysburg, PA 17325

American Radio Relay League
RFI Desk
225 Main St
Newington, CT 06111

FCC Power-Utility Letter Text



Utility Company
Attn: (Name)
City, State, ZIP

Dear (Name):

The Federal Communications Commission has received complaints that equipment operated by your company is causing harmful radio interference to operators in the Amateur Radio Service. The complainant is:

Name, Callsign
Street Address
City, State ZIP

The FCC has the responsibility to require that utility companies rectify such problems within a reasonable time if the interference is caused by faulty power utility equipment. Under FCC rules, most power-line and related equipment is classified as an "incidental radiator." This term is used to describe equipment that does not intentionally generate any radio-frequency energy, but that may create such energy as an incidental part of its intended operation.

To help you better understand your responsibilities under FCC rules, here are the most important rules relating to radio and television interference from incidental radiators:

Title 47, CFR Section 15.5 General conditions of operation.

(c) The operator of the radio frequency device shall be required to cease operating the device upon notification by a Commission representative that the device is causing harmful interference. Operation shall not resume until the condition causing the harmful interference has been corrected.

Title 47, CFR Section 15.13 Incidental radiators:

Title 47, CFR Section 15.15 General technical requirements.

In the present, the complainant has attempted unsuccessfully to work through your usual complaint resolution process and as a result the matter has been referred to our office. The FCC prefers that those responsible for the proper operation of power lines assume their responsibilities fairly. This means that your utility company should locate the source of interference caused by its equipment and make necessary corrections within a reasonable time.

While the FCC has confidence that most utility companies are able to resolve these issues voluntarily, the FCC wants to make your office aware that this unresolved problem may be a violation of FCC rules and could result in a monetary forfeiture for each occurrence.

At this stage, the FCC encourages the parties to resolve this problem without FCC intervention; but if necessary to facilitate resolution, the FCC may investigate possible rules violations and address appropriate remedies.

The American Radio Relay League, a national organization of Amateur Radio operators, may be able to offer help and guidance about radio interference that involves Amateur Radio operators. You may wish to contact them at:

American Radio Relay League
Radio Frequency Interference Desk
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111

Please advise the complainant within 30 days of what steps your utility company is taking to correct this reported interference problem. The FCC expects that most cases can be resolved within 60 days of the time they are first reported to the utility company. If you are unable to resolve this within 60 days, please advise this office about the nature of the problem, the steps you are taking to resolve it and the estimated time in which those steps can be accomplished.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact:

Laura L. Smith
Special Counsel
Enforcement Bureau, FCC

Thank you for your cooperation.

Consumer Information Bureau
Consumer Center
Federal Communications Commission
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325


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