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Utility Licenses

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Any utility operating in in the City of Portland is required to obtain a License.
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Note: The City of Portland Right-of-Way Code is in process of being updated. Please see the Right-of-Way Code project for more information.

Utility License Overview

Portland’s Utility License Law (City Code Section 7.14) may require you to obtain a Utility License ("License"). Any utility operating in in the City of Portland is required to obtain a License. Licenses are automatically renewed each year.

A "Utility" is the business of supplying electrical energy, gas, district heating or cooling, water, cable, communications, or other services through or associated with telecommunications utility, telephone or coaxial cable, sewage disposal and treatment, and other operations for public service but does not include transportation service, railroad operations, or services licensed under this Title (Code Section 7.14.040.H).

Utilities operating in Portland are subject to the Utility License Law whether they have a franchise agreement or other similar authority to be in the right of way. A franchisee may not be required to get a license if its franchise fee payments are equal to or exceed the amount owed under the Utility License Law (City Code 7.14.050.B, 7.14.070). If your company only provides Internet Access or Internet Access Service within the Federal Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 USC 151), it is exempt from the Utility License Law requirements.

All other utilities will need a License regardless of whether or not the utility owns or uses physical facilities in public streets. A License is required of all wire line telecommunications companies including VOIP providers and any utility that resells lines or services from Qwest or others ("resellers").

There is no cost or fee to apply for or receive a License.

View the Portland City Code Chapter 7.14: Utility License Law

Note: The City of Portland Right-of-Way Code is in process of being updated. Please see the Right-of-Way Code project for more information.

Apply for a Utility License

Application for a license pursuant to the Utility License Law, Portland City Code Chapter 7.14.