The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has rejected a petition by the Department of Justice to retain phone records (metadata) stored by the National Security Agency (NSA) for longer than five years, as is currently allowed. The Court concluded that any reason to keep the telephone records is outweighed by the damage that such a decision would do to privacy.
The FCC is seeking comment on the National Exchange Carrier Association’s (NECA) revised Cost Allocation Manual (CAM). Comments are due April 9, 2014; reply comments are due April 24, 2014. The revisions reflect changes that occurred during the 2013 calendar year. Specifically, changes were made to Section I, Section III, and Section VI to consolidate various cost pools, eliminate a cost pool reassignment of NECA’s core expenses, and broaden the list of incidental activities. NECA said that the changes were made to improve reporting accountability and more accurately reflect NECA cost pools.
The FCC also announced the tentative agenda for the next open meeting scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2014. The FCC will consider a First Report and Order that would revise rules to make 100 megahertz of 5 GHz UNII-1 band unlicensed spectrum more useful for consumers and businesses and reduce the potential for harmful interference to certain incumbent operations. It will also consider a Report and Order that would adopt allocation, licensing, service, and technical rules to make available for auction 65 megahertz of AWS-3 spectrum for flexible use services, including mobile broadband. The other two items relate to broadcast retransmission consent and the quadrennial regulatory review of the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules.
The PSC will hold the second of two planned technical conferences to introduce revised proposed changes to Chapter 5 (Telecommunications Companies) of its Rules and Regulations on March 19, 2014. These revised proposed changes result from consideration of comments received from interested parties at the first technical conference held in January. The rule revisions are intended to eliminate obsolete, unnecessary, and duplicative rules and to ensure the Commission’s rules are clear, concise, and relevant. They are largely non-substantive. The revised proposed changes are available online at: http://psc.state.wy.us/pscdocs/ProposedRuleChanges.html.
A Petition for Rulemaking has been filed with the Board of Public Utilities by the Sierra Club. The petition asks for new rules establishing an energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS) requiring each electric distribution company and gas distribution company to develop energy efficiency programs to meet the EEPS. It also recommends establishment of a consistent statewide cost recovery mechanism. Petitioner states that the proposed new rules would require binding, long-term, and fully funded energy efficiency targets for the distribution companies. Savings should be achieved through a suite of programs offered by each utility.