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 PSC is seeking comment on its proposed 97¢ monthly funding factor for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund. This would be a reduction from the current 99¢ funding factor. On May 13, the PSC issued an order reminding all affected utilities of the July 1 deadline to file information needed to determine the funding factor for the upcoming fiscal year. Therefore, all affected utilities must file information showing the number of retail billing meters the utility serves that are subject to the funding factor, or file a notice that the utility intends to opt out of collecting the funding factor. Public Act 95 of 2013 requires the PSC to calculate a funding factor that will not exceed $50 million.
Several parties have asked the FCC to waive the one of its access charge rules and thereby pause, effective June 30, 2014, any reductions in intercarrier compensation rates for originating intrastate toll VoIP traffic until full implementation of the Connect America Fund Phase II mechanism (for price cap carriers) or a tailored CAF mechanism (for rural, rate of return-regulated carriers). FCC rules allowed LECs to tariff default charges for such traffic at their intrastate originating access rates until June 30, 2014. On July 1 those rates were reduced to interstate originating access rate levels. The petitioners ask that the applicable rates be restored to their levels as of June 30, 2014, as soon as possible.
The Petition was filed by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the National Exchange Carrier Association, ITTA, the Eastern Rural Telecom Association, WTA–Advocates for Rural Broadband, Frontier Communications Corporation, and Windstream Communications, Inc.
On May 27, 2014, the PSC received Notice from Neustar/NANPA that the 305 area code covering the Florida Keys will be exhausting in the second quarter of 2015. At its July 10 meeting, the PSC will discuss the mandatory dialing date for 10-digit dialing in the Keys and extension of the 786 area code over the Keys in addition to the 305 area code.
Qwest Corporation d/b/a CenturyLink QC And CenturyTel Of Washington, d/b/a CenturyLink has filed a Settlement Agreement with the Utilities and Transportation Commission that addresses a complaint of improper billing practices filed by Commission Staff. See the Regulatory Mix dated 5/13/14. The settlement resolves all of the issues in dispute. CenturyLink admits that there were billing errors and agrees to pay a $31,300 penalty within 30 days after the Commission approves the Agreement. In addition, the Agreement memorializes a number of customer billing commitments by CenturyLink, such as its plans to implement improvements in its billing system in 4Q2014, which will mechanize the tax table updates and reduce the likelihood of billing errors related to taxes. The Agreement acknowledges that CenturyLink has instituted changes in its IT system to eliminate the underlying cause of FUSF errors. The agreement also contains CenturyLink’s commitments related to customer service, which include regular new hire, annual, and periodic training, online tools, individual and group coaching, and quality assurance observation. Staff will continue to monitor CenturyLink’s compliance with service quality laws and rules, and will initiate appropriate enforcement action should a pattern of noncompliance emerge.