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 House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology announced it will hold a hearing on May 13, 2015, entitled, “Stakeholder Perspectives on the IANA Transition.” Last year, NTIA announced plans for a process that could remove the United States, specifically the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, (NTIA) from its oversight role of critical Internet functions. As part of this process, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was asked to explore ways to transition responsibility for oversight of the Internet Assigned Number Authority from the United States to the multi-stakeholder Internet community. The Committee will hear from a variety of stakeholders to learn more about where the transition stands and what affect it may have on the Internet. Additionally, members will review H.R. 805, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, legislation authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) that would provide a period of one year for the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to study any potential consequences before the transition can occur.
In honor of Older Americans Month, the FCC announced it is launching a series of webinars to help seniors fully engage in using broadband-enabled communications technology to improve their quality of life. The first webinar – titled “Get into the Act…Online” – will be held on May 28, 2015. Future webinars will address digital literacy, broadband adoption, and other issues affecting older Americans. The webinar is free and open to the public and will be recorded for future viewing on the web. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but not required.
At yesterday’s PUC Agenda meeting a Resolution that would approve Verizon Wireless agreement to pay $11.5 million to resolve past unpaid public purpose program surcharges and user fees owed prior to February 2012 was held to the 5/21/15 Agenda. A 2008 audit report found that Verizon had not paid surcharges and user fees on revenues collected from prepaid wireless service. See the Regulatory Mix dated 3/11/15 In 2009, Verizon remitted some of the unpaid surcharges, but refused to pay the unpaid surcharges for its prepaid wireless services. Verizon became compliant and began paying surcharges and user fees to include its prepaid wireless services beginning in February 2012. Verizon continues to pay surcharges and user fees to include prepaid wireless services.
The PUC approved the modified long-term infrastructure improvement plan (LTIIP) for PECO Energy Company (PECO). The updated plan will allow for accelerated replacement of the utility’s at-risk natural gas mains and a faster relocation of indoor meters to outdoor structures. PECO’s original LTIP was approved in May 2013; the modified LTIIP was filed in compliance with Act 11 of 2012. The company proposed to modify its existing LTIIP for three reasons: 1) to further enhance the safety and reliability of its gas distribution system; 2) to address a recommendation in a recent PUC Management and Operations Audit to accelerate the replacement of unprotected bare steel mains; and 3) to address recent revisions to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code which require the relocation of indoor meters to outdoor structures. The modifications will increase PECO’s annual spend from $34 million per year to $61 million per year by 2018, increasing the total estimated cost from $371.3 million to $534.4 million, or by 44 percent over the period from 2013 to 2022. The modified LTIIP also will accelerate the replacement of cast iron and bare steel mains, completing replacement by 2035 instead of 2047, and it will accomplish the relocation of indoor meters to outdoor structures by 2034. (Order issued May 7, 2015, in Docket No P-2013-2347340)