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 PUC’s amended scoping memo in the matter of the application of Frontier and Verizon for approval of transfer of control includes several issues related to the physical condition of the Verizon land line network (Network). Among other things, there are questions regarding the current condition of the Network, its compliance with PUC General Orders, and the cost and extent of repairs required to bring the Network into compliance with PUC-imposed standards of safety and reliability. Two days of evidentiary hearings have been scheduled for September 24 and 25, 2015. Verizon has been directed to prepare and serve on the other parties a comprehensive report on the current condition of the Network and the cost and extent of repairs required to bring the Network into compliance with PUC-imposed standards of safety and reliability, and to make available for cross-examination at the evidentiary hearings a person or persons most knowledgeable regarding the contents of that report. The report must be served on the other parties no later than September 18, 2015. See the Regulatory Mix dated 7/21/15, 7/8/15, and 6/23/15.
The state’s Attorney General has filed comments in response of the PSC’s request for comments on a Department of Public Service (DPS) assessment on the state of telecommunications in New York. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 7/9/15. The AG said that the DPS assessment leaves many questions unanswered. In order to fully understand the impact of deregulation on consumers and business, the AG urges the PSC to initiate a formal proceeding. The AG said that an evidence-based proceeding could develop facts to answer the following questions:
• whether there is adequate competition for broadband service throughout the various regions of New York State, and whether there are any areas that are still essentially cable monopolies;
• whether telecommunications companies are making honest representations about infrastructure build-out;
• whether consumers are satisfied with the various voice service options available to New York consumers; and
• whether Verizon is adequately upgrading or repairing its copper wire infrastructure, which is especially critical for New Yorkers who rely solely on landline service (in the absence of other voice options).
The PSC has extended the deadline for filing comments on the state of telecommunications in New York by 60 days until October 23, 2015, “in order to facilitate meaningful input, accommodate various schedules, and promote the fair, orderly, and efficient conduct of this proceeding.” Following the submission of comments, Staff will consider the need for further process which could include further Public Statement Hearings and/or Technical Conferences.
In an 8/21/15 Press Release, the PUCO Chairman said that reliability of the electric grid in Ohio moved in the right direction with the inclusion of PJM Interconnection’s (PJM) Capacity Performance product for the first time in the annual Base Residual Auction (BRA). The BRA is an annual process to procure generating capacity to meet the forecasted demand for electricity in the region. “At the PUCO, we have the responsibility to focus on reliability in Ohio,” stated Chairman Andre T. Porter, “The Capacity Performance product is designed to ensure that our electric generators are available when needed most.”