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 Briefing.
The FCC reminded all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that receive support from the Universal Service Fund’s high-cost mechanisms (whether legacy high-cost program support or Connect America Fund support) that they have an obligation to use such support only for its intended purposes of maintaining and extending communications service to rural, high-cost areas of the nation. Expenditures of such support for any other purpose is misuse and may subject the recipient to recovery of funding, suspension of funding, enforcement action by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and/or prosecution under the False Claims Act. FCC rules require that ETCs receiving high cost support file an annual certification that they are using the support only for the intended purposes. The FCC encourages states to “look carefully at the information provided to them in advance of the annual certification and to report any areas of concern to the Commission for further investigation and potential enforcement action.” The Public Notice includes a non-exhaustive list of expenditures that are not necessary to the provision of supported services and therefore may not be recovered through universal service support.
The Federal Communications Commission announced the effective dates for some of the requirements adopted in its backup power Order. The requirement that providers of facilities-based, fixed, residential voice services that are not line-powered offer new subscribers the option to purchase a backup power solution that provides at least eight hours of standby power during a commercial power outage will become effective as follows: (1) February 16, 2016, for large providers; and (2) August 11, 2016, for small providers. (A small provider is one that, together with any entities under common control, have fewer than 100,000 domestic retail subscriber lines are considered small for these purposes.) By February 13, 2019, all providers will be required to offer at least one option that provides a minimum of 24 hours standby power. An effective date for the separate customer disclosure obligations still has not been set. The FCC will announce that date after it has received Office of Management and Budget approval.
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation has requested that the PSC approve its use of a power supply cost recovery plan and factor of negative $(0.00055) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to compute its retail Michigan electric customers’ monthly bills for the January 2016 through December 2016 billing months. A public hearing is scheduled to be held on November 17, 2015. Click here for details.
The PUC posted a request for proposal for a statewide evaluator to provide long-term, statewide evaluation of electric distribution company (EDC) energy efficiency and demand response programs. The PUC expects that the evaluation services would be for up to six years to audit program results and verify specific electricity reduction claims of EDCs in response to Act 129 specifications.