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.
Effective July 9, 2015, a new law in Hawaii requires all wireless service providers to release victims of domestic violence (victim) from shared or family wireless service contracts involving the victim’s abuser without charge, penalty, or fee. To qualify, the victim must submit an opt-out request accompanied by certain specified documentation. The victim may also request a substitute or new phone number or alternative telecommunications service. In that case, the provider must provide the substitute or new phone number or alternative telecommunications service without charge, penalty, or fee within 24 hours from when the request is submitted. Other provisions authorize the family court to issue an order requiring the wireless provider to provide similar relief.
The PSC announced that the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) has assigned a new area code for Central New York. The new 680 area code will provide additional phone numbers for residents and businesses in the 18 counties of the existing 315 area code region. Local telephone companies have been directed to activate the new 680 area code by the first quarter of 2017. There will be a seven-month period for network preparation, followed by an eleven-month permissive dialing period. After this period, 10-digit dialing will be mandatory; and any misdialed calls will trigger a message directing the caller to dial 10 digits. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 7/21/15.
In addition, the PSC reminded residential, business, and wireless customers within the existing 631 area code in Suffolk County that they should be preparing for the introduction of the new 934 area code. As an intermediate step in the implementation of the new area code, the permissive dialing phase begins July 18, 2015. (Calls to other area codes must still be dialed as 1+10 digits.) Beginning July 16, 2016, customers in the 631 area code region requesting new service, an additional line, or in some cases moving their service, may be assigned a number in the new 934 area code. Customers should ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment recognize the new 934 area code as a valid area code. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 12/24/14.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced measures to foster competition between companies that offer broadband Internet services. These measures will provide Canadians with more choice and innovative services at reasonable prices. Following an extensive review, the CRTC said that it found that large incumbent companies continue to possess market power in the provision of wholesale high-speed access services and is requiring that they make these services available to competitors. Large incumbent companies will now have to make their fiber facilities available to their competitors. They will continue to be required to provide access to wholesale high-speed access services throughout their region and transition this access to a disaggregated architecture. The provision of wholesale high-speed access services on a disaggregated basis will be implemented in phases across Canada, starting with Ontario and Quebec. The CRTC’s wholesale services framework sets out the rates, terms and conditions under which telecommunications service providers are required to make parts of their respective networks available to competitors.
The PSC will hold a public hearing to be held on August 24, 2015. The PSC will consider Consumers Energy Company’s application seeking PSC approval to: 1) adjust its retail natural gas rates to provide additional revenue of approximately $84.687 million annually; 2) adjust the Company’s existing retail natural gas rates to produce a rate of return on common equity of not less than 10.70%; 3) implement a Gas Revenue Decoupling Mechanism to annually reconcile total non-fuel rate case revenues approved by the PSC in the most recent case to the total non-fuel revenue generated through actual sales during the period of time under evaluation; 4) implement an Investment Recovery Mechanism as described in its filing; 5) modify the rates, rules, and regulations; and 6) grant certain accounting authorizations as described in the Company’s filing. The PSC said that a typical residential customer who uses 95 mcf (thousand cubic feet) of natural gas per year may see an increase in natural gas distribution costs of approximately $38.22 per year if the petition is approved. If approved, incremental increases would occur in 2017, 2018, and 2019.