§ 39-17-2. Purposes for which permitted Duration Protection of existing businesses Landowner's rights.
Any grants, whether by ordinance or by contract, may confer upon any corporation created by the general assembly for the purpose of distributing water, or for the purpose of producing, selling, and distributing currents of electricity to be used for light, heat, or motive power, or for the purpose of manufacturing, selling, and distributing illuminating or heating gas, or for the purpose of operating street railways by any motive power, or for the purpose of operating telephones, the exclusive right, for a time not exceeding twenty-five (25) years, to erect, lay, construct, and maintain for the purposes for which the corporation is created, poles, wires, pipes, conduits, rails, or cables, with necessary and convenient appurtenances as may be required for the conduct of the business of the corporation, in, over, or under the streets of the town or city; provided, however, that no grant of exclusive rights or franchises for any of the purposes described in this section shall be made by any city or town where, at the time a corporation created for the same purpose, or a person duly authorized by law to use the streets for such purpose, shall be in actual use and enjoyment of the rights, except to the corporation or person already carrying on business in the city or town; and provided, further, that whenever in any city or town more than one corporation shall at the time be in actual use and enjoyment of portions of the streets and highways for any of the purposes described in this section, no exclusive right or franchise shall be granted to either without the consent of the other; and provided, further, that no grant shall prevent any town or city from permitting any person or corporation to use streets or highways for any of the purposes described in this section in order to connect and serve any two (2) or more estates owned by the person or corporation.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 77, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 91, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 103, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 126, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 39-17-2; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 119; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 15.)