Section 37-6-42Enumerated powers.
(a) Any such electric cooperative shall have power:
(1) To supply telephone service in rural areas to its members, to governmental agencies and political subdivisions, to other persons, and to business entities not in excess of 40 percent of the number of its members; provided that wireless communications services, including, without limitation, services classified as of January 1, 1997, as "commercial mobile radio services" by the Federal Communications Commission, may be provided to any person, firm, corporation, governmental agency, or political subdivision within any area for which the electric cooperative is authorized to provide such wireless service under federal law or regulations, without the business entity being a member of the cooperative, regardless of whether the business entity is in excess of 40 percent of the number of its members, and, without limiting the foregoing, should a cooperative acquire any facilities in rural areas supplying telephone service to persons in rural areas, it may, for the purpose of continuing such service and avoiding hardship, and to an extent which together with all other persons receiving telephone service on a nonmember basis shall not exceed 50 percent of the total number of persons receiving telephone service, continue to serve the persons served directly from the facilities at the time of the acquisition without requiring that persons become members and provided further that no electric service shall be furnished contrary to the provisions of Sections 37-14-1 through 37-14-17 or Sections 37-14-30 through 37-14-40.
(2) To construct, purchase, take, receive, lease as lessee or otherwise acquire, and to own, hold, use, equip, maintain, and operate, to sell, assign, transfer, convey, exchange, lease as lessor, mortgage, pledge or otherwise dispose of or encumber telephone lines, facilities, or systems, lands, buildings and structures, plants and equipment, and any and all kinds and classes of real or personal property whatsoever which shall be deemed necessary, convenient, or appropriate to accomplish the purpose for which the cooperative is organized; provided, however, that no electric cooperative organized and no corporation converted into an electric cooperative, under Article 1 of this chapter, shall construct, purchase, take, receive, lease as lessee, or otherwise acquire or maintain or operate any telephone lines, facilities, plants, or systems, other than telephone lines, facilities, plants, or systems used to provide wireless communications services, in any area other than a rural area as defined by this article.
(3) To make any and all contracts necessary or convenient for the full exercise of the powers granted in this article, including, but not limited to, contracts with any person, firm, corporation, federal agency, or municipality for connections of telephone lines, facilities, or systems and in connection with any contract to stipulate and agree to covenants, terms, and conditions as the board of trustees may deem appropriate, including covenants, terms, and conditions with respect to rates, financial and accounting methods, services, operation and maintenance practices, and, consistent with Section 37-6-20, the manner of disposing of the revenues of the properties operated and maintained by the cooperative; to construct, maintain, and operate telephone lines along, upon, under, and across all public thoroughfares, including without limitation all roads, highways, streets, alleys, bridges, and causeways, and upon, under, and across all publicly owned lands; provided, however, that the respective authorities having jurisdiction thereof shall consent thereto; provided further, that said construction, maintenance, and operation of the telephone lines shall be in the manner and according to the specifications as will avoid interference with, or hazards to, existing communication lines; to exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner provided by the laws of this state for the exercise of that power by corporations constructing or operating telephone lines, facilities, or systems; provided, however, that, notwithstanding Section 37-6-27, cooperatives organized and corporations converted into cooperatives under Article 1 of this chapter for the purpose of supplying the telephone service shall, as relates to that part or portion of their business devoted to the supplying of telephone service under this article, be subject to the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission to the same extent, in the same manner, and in every respect as are existing telephone companies.
(b) Any cooperative organized under or furnishing telephone service pursuant to this article shall have the right to interconnect its lines, facilities, or systems with the lines, facilities, or systems of any person, firm, or corporation furnishing telephone service to the public in this state, and any person, firm, or corporation furnishing telephone services to the public in this state shall have the right to interconnect its lines, facilities, or systems with those of any cooperative furnishing telephone services under this article, in order to provide a continuous line of communication for all telephone subscribers. Any such interconnection shall be pursuant to the same terms and conditions regardless of whether initiated by the cooperative or other telephone or telecommunications supplier, with compensation to be the same or based on methodology designed to recover the reasonable costs of the respective parties; provided, however, that nothing herein shall affect arrangements in place on May 6, 1998. If a person, firm, or corporation and the cooperative shall be unable to agree upon the terms and conditions of such interconnection, including compensation therefor, the Alabama Public Service Commission shall establish the terms and conditions, which shall be reasonable and nondiscriminatory.
(Acts 1949, No. 339, p. 509, §3; Acts 1951, No. 613, p. 1057, §1; Acts 1990, No. 90-174, p. 193, §1; Act 98-602, p. 1318, §1.)