Though figures on construction delays caused by CenturyLink’s blue-stake issues are not available, each delayed location request represents a potentially costly delay on a construction project.

Arizona telecommunications provider CenturyLink says it has caught up with its backlog of requests to mark its underground lines, but it faces a state fine for failing to meet deadlines under the state’s blue-stake law.

At an open meeting of the Arizona Corporation Commission on Tuesday, the utility panel approved a proposed order requiring CenturyLink to pay a $115,000 fine based on about 30 late blue-stake tickets issued in the Phoenix area between the end of May and early July.

CenturyLink had a backlog of 32,000 line-locating requests in May but reported that all but a couple had been cleared by this week, according to the commission.

Each delayed location request represents a potentially costly delay on a construction project.

The telecom provider agreed to sign a consent order including payment of the fine and requiring the company to report its blue-stake compliance monthly to the commission for the next year.

In other ACC action

The Corporation Commission also approved new rules for Tucson Electric Power Co. and several other state-regulated utilities to conform with a ban on summertime residential disconnections.

Regulators adopted the ban in June after an Arizona Public Service Co. customer in Mesa died of heat-related causes after her power was cut off for partial non-payment.

Two rural cooperatives serving parts of northern Arizona, Navopache Electric and Utah-based Garkane Energy, were required to comply with the disconnect prohibition based on high temperatures rather than the standard prohibition against disconnects between June 1 and Oct. 15.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at or 573-4181.

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David joined the Star in 1997, after working as a consumer and business reporter in Phoenix for more than a decade. A graduate of Ohio University, he has covered most business beats focusing on technology, defense and utilities. He has won several awards.