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Apply for a Pole & Conduit Permit

License Commission

Pole & Conduit Permits are issued by the Pole and Conduit Commission pursuant to and in accordance with Massachusetts General Law c. 166 and Cambridge Municipal Code 15.16, Electrical Poles and Wires. 

How to Start

Step 1:

Contact DIG SAFE 1.800.332.4844

Dig Safe is a centralized notification agency for its member utilities companies, including the cable, electric, gas and telephone companies. Massachusetts state law mandates that Dig Safe and its member companies be contacted at least 72 hours before excavation begins. Upon contacting Dig Safe, the Dig Safe agent will request the following types of information:

  • the address of the site where digging will occur;
  • how deep the applicant plans to dig;
  • the name, address and phone number of the person or group performing the dig
  • the name, address and phone number of the applicant
The Dig Safe agent will issue a number to certify that the applicant has called. Some City applications require that this number be indicated. Each of the companies will visit the site and mark any underground pipes, cables, etc.

Step 2:

Applicant must file a petition though our Online Licensing Portal. A hearing with the Pole & Conduit Commission will be scheduled for the third Thursday of the month at 9AM. Upon attending the hearing and receiving approval, the Pole and Conduit Commission will issue an approval permit number to the applicant and forward the approved Petition and Order form to the Department of Public Works; Traffic, Parking and Transportation; the Electrical Department; and the Police Department.

Step 3:

The Department of Public Works issues the Excavation Permit (if digging is required ), and determines the Street Preservation Offset Fee (SPOF). The permit process may take from one to seven days. The applicant must obtain a $5,000 bond and pay a $50 permit fee.

Step 4:

The Electrical Department issues the Installation Permit. There is a permit fee of $10.

Step 5:

The Traffic, Parking and Transportation issues the Street Obstruction Permit. This permit process takes about three days. The permit fee is $25, but if meters are involved there is an additional fee of $5 per meter per day and a $25 bagging charge (for up to 16 meters).

Step 6:

The Police Department determines the necessary number of detail officers at the site.

Step 7:

The Pole and Conduit Commission issues or mails the Pole & Conduit permit to the applicant. The applicant has the option to pick up the approval when it is available. The applicant must notify the License Commission, Electrical Department, and the Department of Public Works when work is completed. The Department of Public Works must also be notified when excavation is completed.



  • DPW - obtain a $5,000 bond and pay $50 Excavation Permit fee; 
  • Electrical Department - $10 installation fee; 
  • Traffic, Parking & Transportation - $25 and up for a Street Obstruction Permit fee; 
  • Pole and Conduit application fee of $200.00 per street for all types of connections. 


  • The approval process takes approximately two to four weeks. 
  • The Pole and Conduit Commission usually meets the third Thursday of the month at 9:00am. 
  • The filing deadline is 12:00 p.m. (noon), 12 business days prior to the meeting (on the Tuesday 2 weeks prior to the meeting)
  • Please call our office at 617-349-6141 with any questions.


Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 8:11 PM
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