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   July 6, 2011

   Mr. Joseph Waltz

   Director of Energy Resources

   Department of Energy Resources

   520 E. 6th Street #A

   Front Royal, Virginia 22630-4006

   Mr. Kent Farmer


   Rappahannock Electric

   247 Industrial Court

   Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408

   Re: EB-11-GB-0033

   Mr. Waltz and Mr. Farmer:

   The Federal Communications Commission has been in contact with
   representatives of your respective companies since July of 2010 to inform
   your company that the Commission had received complaints of harmful radio
   interference possibly caused by power line equipment maintained by one or
   both of your companies. The interference was reported by:

   (Name withheld)

   (Address withheld)

   (Address withheld)

   Phone: (number withheld)

   Between July of 2010 and September of 2010, agents at the Commission's
   Columbia field office spoke with several representatives of Front Royal
   Electric (Missy, Tim, Mike and Mr. Jenkins) advising them that this
   problem, if unresolved, could be a violation of Commission rules and could
   possibly result in a monetary forfeiture. As a result of these
   conversations, Front Royal Electric made several repairs. The field agents
   also spoke with representatives of Rappahannock Electric (Mr. Rutherford
   and Mr. Potter). At that time, Mr. Potter indicated that there were
   several loose connections on the some of the poles indicating that they
   might be the source of the interference. Mr. Potter indicated that
   Rappahannock would get a truck out to tighten the connections.

   In November and December of 2010 and again in April of 2011, agents from
   the Commission's Columbia field office conducted more field inspections.
   They again spoke with representatives of both Front Royal Electric and
   Rappahannock Electric. During the course of those field inspections,
   several sources of interference were located and the appropriate utility
   was contacted and advised of the poles needing repair. During the past
   several months, the licensee has continued to experience interference and
   continues to contact the two utilities in an effort to get the problem
   fixed. On May 30, 2011, a truck hit a pole on the main street heading into
   Front Royal resulting in a power outage for the area around the
   complainant's residence. During the time the power was out, the
   complainant used a hand-held Sony 201 battery powered amateur radio and
   checked all of the amateur bands for interference. The bands were
   completely free from interference during the entire time the power was out
   in his area.

   The Commission has the responsibility to require that utility companies
   rectify any 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.

   (b) Operation of an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator is
   subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused and that
   interference must be accepted that may be caused by the operation of an
   authorized radio station, by another intentional or unintentional
   radiator, by industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment, or by an
   incidental radiator.

   (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.

   Manufacturers of these devices shall employ good engineering practices to
   minimize the risk of harmful interference.

   Title 47, CFR Section 15.15 General technical requirements.

   (c) Parties responsible for equipment compliance should note that the
   limits specified in this part will not prevent harmful interference under
   all circumstances. Since the operators of Part 15 devices are required to
   cease operation should harmful interference occur to authorized users of
   the radio frequency spectrum, the parties responsible for equipment
   compliance are encouraged to employ the minimum field strength necessary
   for communications, to provide greater attenuation of unwanted emissions
   than required by these regulations, and to advise the user as to how to
   resolve harmful interference problems (for example, see Sec. 15.105(b)).

   The complainant has attempted unsuccessfully to work through your usual
   complaint resolution process going so far as to have FCC field agents come
   into his area on multiple occasions to help locate and resolve the
   problem. To date the interference still continues and neither company has
   been able to adequately locate and resolve the interference. As a result,
   the matter has been referred to my office for resolution. The Commission
   prefers that those responsible for the proper operation of power lines
   assume their responsibilities fairly. This means that both of your
   companies should locate the source of any interference caused by your
   respective equipment and make necessary corrections within a reasonable

   While the Commission has confidence that most utility companies are able
   to resolve these issues voluntarily, the Commission wants to make both of
   your offices 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 Commission encourages the parties to resolve this problem
   without further Commission intervention, but if necessary to facilitate
   resolution, the Commission 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.

   American Radio Relay League

   Radio Frequency Interference Desk

   225 Main Street

   Newington, CT 06111



   Please advise the complainant and this office what steps both of your
   companies are taking to correct this reported interference problem. The
   Commission 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 matter by September 9, 2011, 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 me in writing
   at: 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325 or via phone at
   717-338-2577. Thank you for your cooperation.


   Laura L. Smith

   Special Counsel

   Cc: Columbia Field Office

   Northeast Regional Director

   Agents at the FCC's Columbia field office initially spoke with Mr. Jenkins
   of Front Royal Electric and Mr. Potter of Rappahannock Electric.

   While the complainant is not a customer of Rappahannock Electric, his
   residence is within a short distance of the demarcation line between
   Rappahannock's territory and that of Front Royal.