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 Communications and Technology Subcommittee is holding a hearing today on the FCC process reform. The subcommittee will consider the discussion draft of the FCC Process Reform Act, authored by Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), that aims to increase transparency and predictability at the FCC. This is a bill that passed the House in the 112th Congress and that the 113th Congress passed unanimously. The subcommittee will also consider several other bills on process reform that were introduced by other members of the subcommittee. See the Regulatory Mix dated 5/4/15 and 4/22/15. The hearing background memo, witness testimony, draft legislation, and video of the hearing are available here.
Pole attachment rates
The FCC asked parties to refresh the record on a petition for reconsideration concerning its telecommunications pole attachment rate formula. Comments are due June 4, 2015; reply comments are due June 15, 2015. The petition, filed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), COMPTEL, and tw telecom in June 2011, asked the FCC to clarify or amend the rules to ensure that the rates are equalized even when the number of attaching entities differs from the presumptions in the FCC’s rules. The FCC noted that after the close of the original comment cycle: (1) the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld the pole attachment rules that are the subject of the petition; and (2) its Order adopting Open Internet/Net Neutrality rules discussed the concern raised in the petition regarding the consequences if the cost allocation rule were interpreted to apply fully only in instances where there are three and five attaching entities. The FCC also said it would be “concerned by any potential undermining of the gains the Commission achieved by revising the pole attachment rates paid by telecommunications carriers” in 2011. Given the time that has elapsed since the filing and original comment cycle on the petition, as well as the subsequent events, the FCC wants to ensure that the record reflects current viewpoints on the issues raised in the petition.
A group of Alabama LECs (Blountsville Telephone LLC, Brindlee Mountain Telephone LLC, Hopper Telecommunications LLC, Otelco Telephone LLC, and Pine Belt Telephone Company, Inc.) filed a joint petition for limited waiver of 47 C.F.R. §51.917(b). The LECs seek to include amounts owed by Halo Wireless, Inc. in Fiscal Year 2011 in their Carrier Base Period Revenues (BPR). Comments are due by May 27, 2015; reply comments must be filed by June 8, 2015. The Petition says that exclusion of the amounts owed to the Petitioners in the BPR has “a significant adverse impact on the AL ILEC Petitioners’ recovery mechanism funding, which in turn has challenged AL ILEC Petitioners by limiting their ability to invest in, and improve, their networks.” The Petitioners seek to include these amounts, which were billed to Halo but not collected by March 31, 2012, in the BPR effective July 1, 2012.
The Illinois Commerce Commission has proposed amendments to the Net Metering rules that would incorporate recent statutory amendments to Section 16-107.5 of the Public Utilities Act. In addition, the changes are intended to improve the operation of the net metering programs offered by electricity providers. Among the amendments proposed in the rulemaking are changes in application and enrollment procedures, in billing, and in reporting requirements. The rulemaking would add new Sections applicable to interval meter data and meter aggregation. Provisions in the definitions Section would also be added or altered to correspond to the changes proposed elsewhere in the Part.