(a) The Commission, upon its own motion or upon petition of any public utility or upon petition of the North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority on behalf of any electric membership corporation, shall have the power and authority, after notice and hearing, to order that the lines and right-of-way of any public utility or electric membership corporation may be crossed by any other public utility or electric membership corporation. The Commission, in all such cases, may require any such crossings to be constructed and maintained in a safe manner and in accord with accepted and approved standards of safety and may prescribe the manner in which such construction shall be done.
(b) The Commission shall also have the power and authority to discontinue and prohibit such crossings where they are unnecessary and can reasonably be avoided and to order changes in existing crossings when deemed necessary.
(c) In all cases in which the Commission orders such crossings to be made or changed and when the parties affected cannot agree upon the cost of the construction of such crossings or the damages to be paid to one of the parties for the privilege of crossing the lines of such party, it shall be the duty of the Commission to apportion the cost of such construction and to fix the damage, if any, to be paid and to apportion the damages, if any, among the parties in such manner as may be just and equitable.
(d) This section shall not be construed to limit the right of eminent domain conferred upon public utilities and electric membership corporations by the laws of this State or to limit the right and duty conferred by law with respect to crossing of railroads and highways or railroads crossing railroads, but the duty imposed and the remedy given by this section shall be in addition to other duties and remedies now prescribed by law. Any party shall have the right of appeal from any final order or decision or determination of the Commission as provided by law for appeals from orders or decisions or final determinations of the Commission. (1913, c. 130, s. 1; C.S., s. 1052; 1933, c. 134, s. 8; 1941, c. 97; 1949, c. 1029, s. 1; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1.)