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.
District of Columbia
The PSC has taken steps to protect telephone customers by directing Verizon to continue and improve its efforts to educate telephone customers about the differences between telephone service provided over copper facilities and telephone service provided over fiber facilities. The PSC’s directives to Verizon focus on ensuring that telephone customers know that when they choose telephone service provided over fiber facilities, they will not have telephone service when a commercial power outage occurs unless they have battery backup. The PSC also directed Verizon to continue to permit customers who wish to keep telephone service provided over copper facilities to keep this service. The PSC also determined that Verizon’s FiOS Digital Voice service is a VoIP service, which the PSC is prohibited from regulating. Therefore, the PSC also directed Verizon to inform customers choosing FiOS Digital Voice service that the PSC cannot handle any consumer complaints regarding FiOS Digital Voice service. It is expected that the PSC will open rulemaking proceedings to propose rules governing battery backup requirements and the retirement of copper facilities.
District of Columbia
The PSC has denied the proposed acquisition of Pepco Holdings, Inc. by Exelon Corporation as not being in the public interest. The PSC considered the effect of the transaction on each of seven public interest factors, including the effects of the transaction on ratepayers and shareholders, on competition in the local retail and wholesale markets, and on conservation of natural resources and preservation of environmental quality. It concluded that, taken as a whole, the transaction is not in the public interest. The PSC concluded that Pepco would become a second tier company in a much larger corporation whose primary interest is not in distribution but in generation. Chairman Kane stated, “The public policy of the District is that the local electric company should focus solely on providing safe, reliable, and affordable distribution service to District residences, businesses, and institutions. The evidence in the record is that sale and change in control proposed in the merger would move us in the opposite direction.” In other jurisdictions, the transaction has been approved, including Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The only jurisdiction to deny the application is the District of Columbia. Pepco and Exelon have 30 days to ask the Commission to reconsider its decision.
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