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 FCC revised its guidance for the E-rate program regarding cost allocation for bundles of eligible services and ineligible components. As a result, beginning with funding year 2015, E-rate recipients must cost allocate nonancillary ineligible components that are bundled with eligible products or services, including those components that previously would have fallen within the scope of components not requiring cost allocation as described in the FCC’s 2010 Clarification Order. (The 2010 Clarification Order permitted, under limited circumstances, E-rate applicants to seek E-rate support for purchases of eligible services bundled with ineligible components without providing a cost allocation separating out the value of the ineligible components.) Applicants may continue to seek E-rate funding for the eligible components of any bundled service offering but now must cost allocate non-ancillary ineligible components including, but not limited to, end user devices such as telephone handsets, VoIP handsets, computers, cell phones, and other components that are not eligible for E-rate discounts. The FCC made no other changes to the gift guidance in the 2010 Clarification Order. If a gift was prohibited prior to the newest Order, it remains prohibited by the rules.
The PSC issued a Scheduling Order in its proceeding considering CenturyLink QC’s petition for a determination that its basic telecommunications services provided in its Base Rate Area and Zone 1 service areas are subject to effective competition and should be price deregulated. The affected exchanges are: Aflon, Buffalo, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Dayton-Ranchester, Douglas, Evanston, Gillette, Glendo, Glenrock, Green River, Jackson, Kemmerer, Lake, Lander, Laramie, Lusk, Mammoth, Moran, Old Faithful, Powell, Rawlins, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Story, Wheatland and Wright. TMI Regulatory Bulletin service subscribers, see Bulletin dated 3/10/14. The schedule calls for CenturyLink’s additional direct testimony to be filed by June 13, 2014 and Intervenor direct testimony to be filed by July 18, 2014. Rebuttal testimony for all parties is due August 15, 2014. A public hearing will be held starting September 16, 2014.
The PSC released the “Michigan Energy Appraisal: Summer 2014”. The appraisal, which is prepared every six months, reviews the projected prices and availability of energy in Michigan over the winter months. It reported that the demand for energy in Michigan is projected to increase across all sectors compared to last year, with the majority of growth occurring due to weather related factors. The first three months of 2014 were 21 percent colder than normal which contributed to higher consumption of electricity, natural gas, and heating oil. Assuming normal weather this summer, demand for electricity and natural gas (electric power sector) are expected to be higher than the same period last year, which was 12 percent cooler than normal (June – August).